The Aquatic Center will host an exclusive evening for the autism community

Melbourne’s Windy Hill Fitness Center will open its doors exclusively for the autism community with a family swim night hosted by charity Different Journeys on February 26. The intention is to gradually expose people with autism to all aspects of the aquatic environment.

Different Journeys Autism co-founder Mel Spencer explains that there are many barriers that prevent people with autism from learning to swim.

“Just trying to get into the water can be a challenge for some while others find new faces and overwhelming spaces,” she said Spencer.

Statistics published by Autism Swim indicate that children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are 160 times more likely to drown than their neurotypical peers. However, events like Family Swim Night could provide vital tools and skills to the autism community, their families and caregivers.

“The center’s staff and management are also gaining a better understanding of how to move forward with adaptive swimming options,” says Spencer.

An introductory communication before the day of the event via visual aid includes a photographic storybook with photos of the pool, swimming instructors, lifeguards and participants.

The charity is in discussions with facilities management company Bluefit Group to roll out the program to include additional aquatic centers. Family swim nights are scheduled once a month until June 2022.

The event costs $10 per person and is open to all ages and includes a barbecue dinner. Register online at:

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