MIAMI (CBS4) – It’s summertime and swim safety is top of mind for many families in South Florida, especially those with children that have special needs.
“Children with autism are very prone to wander, and more, wander to water. Water attracts them,” explained Lissette Munoz, a mother of twins with autism, Omar and Luis.
Water is especially attractive to children with autism. It’s a hazard Munoz is all too aware of after and incident with one of her twins, Omar.
“Omar unfortunately, he, one day when he was playing outside in my porch, he broke my fence and left. We found him, thank God we found him, we found him safe but he was soaked from head to toe and we found him by the canal,” said Munoz.
Police provided the family with a special detector for Omar that alerts officials in case he wanders and Munoz put both children in special swim classes with The Super Swimmers Foundation.
“The whole program is geared to children with autism,” said Julie Gross, founder of the Super Swimmers Foundation.
It’s a vital resource that’s saving lives.
“Drowning in the number one cause of death in children with autism,” said Gross.
Fences For Friends also helped keep the twins safe, they donated a pool fence to the Munoz family.
“We provide the installation, labor and in some cases the fence for families in need of a pool fence or in need of their pool protected, free of charge,” said David McDowell of Pool Guard, a company that participates in the Fences For Friends program.
It’s a relief for Lissette Munoz and her family.
“It’s expensive, so it’s great that somebody wants to help. It only takes one minute, no one second, for a tragedy to happen,” said a grateful Lissette.
Those involved say their hope is that programs like these will make swim safety and education available for everyone.
“Don’t ever think because your child with autism that may not verbally speak can’t do a very important life saving skill, just because they learn differently,” said Gross
Click Here For more information on the Super Swimmers Foundation.
Click Here to learn more about Fences For Friends.
To learn more about resources available for families of children with autism, call UMCard at 1800-9-AUTISM or visit their web page at http://www.umcard.org/ .