April is National Autism Acceptance Month. The Montana Swimming DDEI committee wants to bring awareness, educate and enlighten the Montana Swimming members of various disabilities. Many teams have members that struggle with depression, anxiety, ADHD, Tourette Syndrome, and Autism spectrum disorders. Autism, a complex developmental condition affecting the patient’s ability to interact, communicate, and progress, has not one but many subtypes.

Autism Spectrum Disorder is a brain developmental disorder caused by genetic mutation and sometimes, by environmental triggers. Although the autism spectrum is vast, some of the common signs in autistic individuals are repetitive behaviors, hyperactivity, and extreme sensitivity to light, touch, and sound. While there is no absolute cure for autism, therapies and medication can help reduce abnormal behavior and the onset of related symptoms such as seizures.

The CDC defines autism as a spectrum disorder (ASD), a developmental disability that can cause significant social, communication, and behavioral challenges. There is often nothing about how people with ASD look that sets them apart from other people, but people with ASD may communicate, interact, behave, and learn in different ways from most other people. The learning, thinking, and problem-solving abilities of people with ASD can range from gifted to severely challenged. 

Participating in swimming is one of the best ways to enhance an individual with ASD. It has been proven that as little as 20 minutes of active swimming can enhance someone with ASD attention and social awareness, increase reading comprehension, and improve performance on arithmetic tests. The Montana Swimming DDEI Committee hopes each team will help support National Autism Awareness Month!

For more information concerning ASD, please visit: https://www.autismspeaks.org

For information on teaching ASD swimmers, visit:


A special water safety concerning ASD note: Drowning remains a leading cause of death for children with autism and accounts for approximately 90 percent of deaths associated with wandering or bolting by those age 14 and younger.