Mum asks for understanding for autistic children after her son can no longer swim

Kyle Tower with mum Emma - he is missing out on swimming lessons.

Kyle Tower with mum Emma - he is missing out on swimming lessons. - Credit: Archant

A seven year old boy with autism is missing out on swimming lessons because he is no longer allowed a roped off lane during private swimming classes.

Kyle Tower’s mum says he needs the lane as it gives him a boundaried area that helps him to feel safe in the water.

But after two years, management at Paradise Pool in Ely have decided he can no longer have it, she said.

His mum Emma said: “I think a lot of people don’t understand autism. The lane means he feels he has his own space and feels secure.

“There was one occasion during a lesson where he was encouraged to go under water to get a swim toy and in that time somebody swam over the top of him which totally threw him, he was really scared.

“Kyle can swim but he still needs the lessons to improve and give him confidence.

“We pay Paradise pool £22.40 for a half hour lesson on Fridays from 6 to 6.30pm.

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“Kyle was perfectly happy inside the laned area but then a couple of weeks ago, out of the blue, we were told this was no longer possible to be a roped off area.

She added: “I want Kyle to be a confident swimmer as we live in an area surrounded by rivers and dykes and he is the sort of boy who runs off.

“I need peace of mind that, should he ever get into trouble in water, I know he can get himself out. It is not just a fun activity for him but is also a peace of mind thing for me.”

Kyle, a student at Littleport Primary, is hoping the lessons can begin again, but so far all the pool have offered him is group lessons,

Emma said it was yet another example of the lack of understanding of an autistic child. “He wouldn’t cope in a group situation,” she said.

“I feel so sad for him, he loves swimming and can’t enjoy it any more. I’m sure he is not the only one.”

Simon Clasby, Everyone Active’s general manager said: “Due to recent high demand, the pool’s availability for private sessions has become very limited.

“We aim to accommodate for all our members and visitors and we take their feedback very seriously. We are currently looking into how we can dedicate an area of the pool to private swim sessions for those with special needs moving forward and hope to make these available as soon as possible.”