People with Autism Learning-to-Swim – 3 years old & above

A customized swim instruction using behavioral and communication techniques to effectively teach persons with Autism. 


Benefits of the Program

  • Develops comfort and love for the water 
  • Increase independence, attention, and languange development 
  • Boosts self-confidence
  • Build emotional development
  • Learn to respond to structure
  • Promotes social interaction
  • Acquire safety skills and swim techniques
  • Behavioral control and promotes discipline
  • Improved core body strength and muscle coordination
  • Increase Sensory Processing
  • Opportunity to swim in a empathetic and safe environment
  • Enjoy water-related activities 
  • Carry over to activities of daily living
  • Provide expanding opportunites of speech

Skills Your Child Will Learn


  • Safe Pool Entry
  • Breath Management
  • Comfortably put head under water
  • Flutter Kick
  • Float on Back with Assistance
  • Swim Independently for short distances (2-5 meters)
  • Retrieve Toys from the bottom of the pool with assistance
  • Jump (off the side of the pool) – Turn & Swim (back to wall)


  • Retrieve toys from the bottom of the pool without assistance
  • Swim independently with head underwater for 5-8 meters
  • Bob head up for a breath
  • Independent Stationary Back float
  • Propel oneself on back independently
  • Swim in prone position and roll over to back float
  • Tread in deep water
  • Elementary Backstroke and Catch Up Freestyle


  • Drill Progression for Freestyle, Backstroke, Breaststroke, and Butterfly
  • Starts and Turns

Swim Goals

Level 1 

  • Safety Entry & Exit 
  • Bubbles on the surface
  • Assisted Starfish float – cheek to cheek
  • Assisted Active Backfloat – cheek to cheek (with kicks)
  • Assisted Elementary Backstroke – cheek to cheek
  • Prepared for Water Pouring over head and face 
  • Flutter Kick with barfloat – head above water
  • Assisted sitting jump- head above water
  • Assisted Monkey Walk on wall

Level  2 

  • Safety Entry & Exit 
  • Bubbles face in
  • Assisted Starfish float – nape and forehead/chin hold
  • Assisted Active Backfloat – chin hold (with kicks)
  • Assisted Elementary Backstroke – chin hold
  • Assisted retrieval of toys from the steps / shallow water 
  • Flutter Kick with barfloat – head underwater
  • Assisted sitting jump, turn 180 degrees, and grab wall – head down
  • Unassisted Monkey Walk on wall

Level  3 

  • Bubbles head underwater
  • Hold breath underwater for 5-10 seconds
  • Unassisted Starfish float for at least 10 seconds
  • Partially-assisted- Flowing Active Backfloat with kicks
  • Partially-assisted Elementary Backstroke 
  • Assisted dive game – retrieve toys from pool floor
  • Swims underwater for 5-10 seconds with assisted pop-up breaths
  • Assisted roll-over from front to back / back to front
  • Unassisted standing jump, turn 180 degrees, and grab wall
  • Assisted Knee Dive

Level 4 

  • Improve Horizontal Balance (Streamline)
  • Unassisted Starfish float for at least 20 seconds
  • Unassisted Active Backfloat with kicks
  • Unassisted Elementary Backstroke 
  • Backstroke 
  • Unassisted dive game – retrieve toys from pool floor
  • Swims independently with unassisted pop-up breaths
  • Swims independently with  unassisted roll-over from front to back / back to front
  • Treading water for at least 5 seconds
  • Introduction to Elementary Front Crawl (Catch-up Freestyle)
  • Unassisted standing jump, swim , roll-over on back and swim back to wall
  • Unassisted Knee Dives


Our Packages


3 Years & Up

  •  A specialized program specifically for PALS (People with Autism Learning to Swim )
  • Teacher : Student Ratio: 1 : 1
  • Class Duration: 30 Minutes

2x a week

₱17,640 / 8 Lessons

Once a week

P19,845 / 8 Lessons


Annual Registration Fee – ₱1,000 per student

Frequently Asked Questions

What do I do if my child does not want to enter the pool?

Often, upon entering the pool, swimmers with autism may resist, struggle, or try to get out of the pool. They will often cling to a parent or guardian, pull away physically, or totally resist getting to the pool’s edge. This response upon arrival can vary from mild to severe. Children with autism are often afraid of and resistant to anything that is new, so if the pool is a new experience, getting the student into the pool will take some coaxing. 

If the parent/guardian is a distraction, or the child is consistently trying to get your attention, you may stay out of sight where you can view the lesson but not be seen by your child. Avoid eye contact with your child.

Allow the instructor to start with small steps, with the initial goal of getting your child to sit on the side of the pool with feet dangling into the water to help the student acclimate to the sensation and temperature of the water/

If during the second lesson your child is still hesitant and has not made it not the water, allow the teacher to get your child and bring him in to the pool. If you allow the pattern of not participating in their swim lesson to continue, it will be more and more difficult to get your child into the water. Repeated non-compliance builds a pattern and if it is not redirected, it will become the expectation. Students with autism may be reluctant to swim when it’s a new experience, yet once this is experience is repeated, it is not new anymore.  

Reference : “Swimming with Autism” by Tammy Anderson-Lee and Cathy Ball with contributions by Kim Shults and Carol Morabito


What to do when the student wants to do what he wants to do?

The instructor may find himself further challenged when your child refuses to comply with any of their instructions. To help facilitate a successful swim lesson, the instructor will use fewer words while modeling the activity and using “first…then” statements. For example, “First bubbles, then one minute of playtime”. 

Once the child is on task for about five minutes, the instructor will begin varying activities (but always returning to the target skill) for the rest of the class. 

“First bubbles, then glide, then play time”

“First bubbles,  then glide, then kick, then play time”

Reference : “Swimming with Autism” by Tammy Anderson-Lee and Cathy Ball with contributions by Kim Shults and Carol Morabito

What to do if student is screaming and/or yelling?

As many swimmers who are unfamiliar with what water does, you may expect the student with autism to scream, before, during, and/or after their swim lessons. Reasons for this behavior vary greatly but may include:

  • Attempting to get out of doing the lesson
  • Masking sensory input (what they are hearing around them may be too loud so they try to drown it out)
  • Experimenting with the different sounds common in the pool area

First, interpret the function of the screaming and yelling; determine the antecedent (what may have occurred immediately before the yelling. For example, did your child hear a noise or is their behavior a response to a specific request?

Most often, the student is screaming because he does not want to do the work in the lesson. If this is the case, allow the instructor to effectively ignore the behavior and move along with your child’s lesson as if he is not reacting at all. 

If you determine that your child is responding to a noise, try letting him wear ear plugs, if tolerated. 

Reference : “Swimming with Autism” by Tammy Anderson-Lee and Cathy Ball with contributions by Kim Shults and Carol Morabito


What to do if the student will not get out of the pool?

Very often, the same student who did not want to get into the pool later does not want to get out of the pool. Here are some tips to encourage your child to get out of the pool:

  • Remind your child that the class is over by showing him the timer / clock and encouraging him to follow the schedule which has been laid out and agreed upon. Remind your child that the next step is to get out and take a shower. 
  • Give or show a transition object like a towel, shoes or backpack to remind your child that next step will be occurring. 
  • For students who consistently struggle with getting out of the pool, the instructor will use transitional counting to mark every minute for the last 2-3 minutes of the lesson (“We have 3 minutes left…2 minutes left… 1 minute left)
  • Remind your child of the reward that will occur at the end of the swim lesson by using “First…then” strategy. (“First we get out, then you get a sticker.”)
  • If all else fails, the instructor will escort your child out of the pool and hand him to you.

Reference : “Swimming with Autism” by Tammy Anderson-Lee and Cathy Ball with contributions by Kim Shults and Carol Morabito


What to do if the student is ready to transition from a one-on-one lesson to a group lesson?

The instructor will assess if your child is ready to transition into a group lesson using the following questions to gauge the student’s progress :

  • Can the student stay in a group without wandering away?
  • Can the student keep his hands and feet to himself?
  • Can the student listen to, understand, and follow group instructions? 
  • Can the student meet the skill level requirements of the class?

To gradually transition a student from a one-on-one lesson to a group lesson, the instructor may introduce the swimmer to the perspective class and the new instructor during the last 5 minutes of his scheduled swim lesson. On his next visit to the pool, the instructor can increase the time spent in the perspective swim class to ten minutes. 

While the student is being integrated into the group lesson, the instructor will continue to monitor his progression and behaviors to make sure the group lesson remains suitable to meet his needs. The instructor will continue to increase the time spent in the perspective swing class until the student is comfortable and confident that the group lesson can meet his needs. 

Reference : “Swimming with Autism” by Tammy Anderson-Lee and Cathy Ball with contributions by Kim Shults and Carol Morabito

What should I bring to the AquaPals Swimming Lessons?
  • Swim Suit

A snugly-fit bathing suit or swim trunks to ensure free movement and less drag for the little swimmer.

  • Rash Guards / Sun suits

To reinforce sun protection, we encourage all our students to wear a rash guard or a sun suit over their bathing suit. These suits are usually made of spandex, lycra or polyester,and the material has an inherent SPF (Sun Protection Factor). If you or your child gets cold easily in the water, we recommend to wear a NEOPRENE wet suit over your swimsuit to keep warm during swimming lessons.

For custom-made rash guards and wetsuits, please contact Lisa Guevara at 09175268112.

  • Goggles

Our young swimmers can focus and learn better when they can see clearly underwater. Getting them the right pair of goggles is very important. You should have your child try on the goggles before you purchase them to ensure that it is comfortable, fit well, and is easy to adjust. Tinted lenses are recommended if you swim outdoors to protect the eyes from the glaring rays of the sun.

We have ZOGGS™ and Aqua Sphere™ goggles for sale, please email or call 0917-858-2782 to order.

  • Swim Diapers

Children are required to wear swim diapers (even if they are potty trained)  to reduce the risk of deadly bacteria released in the water. We highly recommend the double nappy system. This means a swim nappy (disposable or reusable) must be worn with a neoprene nappy over the top.

We carry SPLASH ABOUT HAPPY NAPPY DUO, the most advanced reusable swim nappy in the world. Please email  or call 09178979678 to order.

  • Big Towel / Bath Robe

You want to make sure that you dry off your child when you take them out of the pool and wrap your child with a towel or a robe to keep them warm after their swim lesson.

  • Waterproof Sunscreen 

If you will be swimming in an outdoor pool, we have to protect our child from the harmful rays of the sun by using a sunscreen specifically formulated for babies/children. Apply sunscreen at least 30 minutes before the swim lesson to let the skin absorb it, and to also avoid any excess lotion running down the child’s eyes. Trust us on the sunscreen!

We carry  SUN BUM Sun Care Products, Water-Resistant, Hypoallergenic, Cruelty-free, and made without Parabens or Gluten. Please email or call 09178979678 to order. 

  • Non-Slip Slippers or Shoe

We highly-recommend that the students and parents wear non-slip shoes or slippers around the pool deck to avoid any accidents since the area is always wet.