College students teach children with autism to swim

- A unique program in Brooklyn teaches swimming and aquatic safety to children with autism.

Carson, 8, kicks hard as his swimming instructor guides him through the water. Carson has autism. He is one of a group of special-needs children learning to swim from Long Island University-Brooklyn students.

New York City Parks and its Swim for Life program partnered with LIU-Brooklyn and the New York City Department of Education to expand the program to include swim lessons for kids with an autism spectrum disorder.

The move comes after the death of 14-year-old Avonte Oquendo. Three years ago, Avonte, who had autism, ran out a school door in Long Island City, Queens. His body was later found along the East River.

Experts say children with autism especially have a unique attraction to the water. Adaptive aquatics specialist Fran Clifford says that is why it is so important to teach kids with the developmental disorders to swim.

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