Dear Mom & Dad,
We know your time is important, so let's get right to it.
You most likely already know that
✪ Roughly 1/2, or 48%, of children on the autism spectrum attempt to elope from a safe environment, a rate nearly 4 times higher than their unaffected siblings.
✪ Between 2009-2011, accidental drowning accounted for 91% total U.S. deaths reported in children with autism between the ages of 14 and younger subsequent to wandering / elopement.
✪ Private special needs swim lessons at Sensory Swim® reduce the chance of your child drowning by more than 88%.
As a parent you want the best for your child and you should never accept anything less.
But if you have it's not your fault.
"The Ugly Truth About Special Needs Swim Programs"
Today we are sharing with you in depth what we know first hand about special needs swim programs.
Below is a picture of us so you can put our names to our faces.
Warning this will shock you.
In 2006 we traveled the country checking out special needs swim programs.
We noticed one thing in common about every single one of them.
They had no intention to actually teach their students how to swim.
We sat down and talked at length with these instructors and swim school owners.
The overwhelming majority of them said two things over and over again.
✪ Kids with autism and other special needs can't be taught how to swim.
✪ We have no idea how to teach them
On our trip home we kept asking ourselves
✪ How are children suppose to learn how to swim when their instructors don't give them a chance?
✪ Why are these swim schools offering special needs swim lessons if they believe that these kids can't learn how to swim?
So out of necessity Sensory Swim was born.
"A Special Needs Swim Program That No One Wanted But Every One Needed"
When we decided to pack our bags and hit the road again.
This time we had a new purpose.
We stopped at the same swim schools again.
You know the ones who offered "swim lessons for special needs children"?
We sat down and talked with them about having us come in and actually teach these kids how to swim.
They laughed at us.
The idea of two special educators coming in and teaching students with special needs how to swim was funny to them.
Thousands of swim schools laughed at us.
We don't mean laugh at us behind our backs.
They laughed in front of our faces.
They didn't even try to hide it.
But you know what they say...
First they laugh at you, then they copy you.
It seemed like no one was going to take a chance on these kids.
So we decided no matter what the cost that we would
We quit our jobs as special educators.
Emptied our tiny bank accounts and rented expensive pool space at the YMCA.
Parents got to see with their own eyes that impossible odds set the stage for amazing miracles.
But the YMCA at the time was a faceless corporation.
They saw the students we were teaching as nothing but dollar signs.
They offered us a huge buyout and we declined.
So they kicked us out. We were now without a pool.
We had just turned down what many would have called a pot of gold.
Talk about a swift kick in the a$$
Since then they have started a bunch of Sensory Swim Programs.
With little to no success while using our trademark
But everybody knows that people invest in people.
Well not everybody.
The Y is still lacking in that area.
Our team of lawyers want us to sue them for using our trademark.
But we won't.
Their copy cat programs remind us that
First they laugh at you then they copy you.
"Sensory Swim® : Underdogs, Misfits, And The Art Of Battling Giants"
If you just found Sensory Swim, let us bring you up to speed.
After the Y hit the eject button we landed in a smaller pool.
After several months they offered us a pot of gold too.
Everyone thinks we are Irish.
It must be our smiling eyes.
We declined again.
You think we would have learned our lesson the first time.
Eject button #2 initiated.
When you get knocked down you only have two options.
The first option is to stay down.
The second option is to conquer the world.
Can you guess which one we chose?
The two of us were underdogs.
Misfits without a pool to call home.
But we knew the art of battling giants.
Sensory Swim has always been the place where impossible odds set the stage for God's amazing miracles.
In 2011 we finally found our home when word of mouth about Sensory Swim reached Kids First Swim Schools.
Kids First is America's largest provider of year round warm water swimming instruction, operating 24 locations across 5 states, teaching over 100,000 students annually.
Since then we've been turning kids with
✪ Angelman Syndrome
✪ Cerebral Palsy
✪ Down Syndrome
✪ Learning Disabilities
✪ Pervasive Developmental Disorder
✪ Sensory Processing Disorder
and a slew of other special needs into swimming machines.
All under the same roof where their siblings are learning to swim.
After all this time your kid will be laughing & we will be laughing.
We found out that some truths never change.
First they laugh at you, then they copy you.
That has been Sensory Swim's secret sauce since day one.
When we started this journey a decade ago those swim schools had it all wrong.
They were under the impression that we wanted to be like them.
They didn't know we started this whole journey after reading the following quote
""I owe my success to having listened respectfully to the very best advice, and then going away and doing the exact opposite."
We now have two year round locations located in
- Springfield, Virginia
- Sterling, Virginia
and have turned over 4,000 kids & counting into swimming machines with our
- extremely enjoyable
- exceedingly effective
- perfectly fitted
- private special needs swim lessons
Here's to making your child unstoppable,
PS. We can't wait to turn your child into a swimming machine.
Take a moment and read a few of the success stories below.
These are just a small portion of the thousands we have in our possession.
Results are typical !
"The Consistency We've Been Searching For"
There was also a very high turnover in instructors even though they were private swimming lessons.
Sensory Swim provides the consistency we've been searching for and Andrew & Mary have great personalities.
It gives us a lot of peace knowing they have tons of methods that work with "quirky" kiddos and they know how to expect and deal with the unexpected.
They know their stuff.
Overall, we have been very pleased with the quality of instruction and will continue to work with them as long as we are able to do so.
Charity & Travis | Alexandria, Virginia
"Making Progress In So Little Time"
Jakob is 5 and autistic.
He attends school, speech, and previously a feeding clinic, and he has had a hard time adjusting to all of them.
On his first swim lesson Jakob was hesitant to go into the pool area but by the end of that lesson he didn't want to leave.
Every week when he sees me packing his swim bag he gets so excited and when we get to the pool he practically pulls me to the door to wait for Mary.
He is so happy in the pool and so comfortable with Mary
She has a very calm approach with him which he really responds to.
Although Andrew is working with another child while Jakob is having his lesson, he always comes over and says hi and high fives Jakob.
They really seem to enjoy the kids they work with, and I'm convinced that's why Jakob has taken to it so quickly.
In over two years in school the teachers have been unable to find anything that interests Jakob, so to see him loving swimming and making progress in so little time is definitely impressive.
I would and have recommended Sensory Swim .
Thanks for being there."
Laura | Edgewood, Maryland ( Harford County )
" A Life Changing Experience"
My son spent at least 4 years with them until we moved.
He learned some remarkable things and their patience is unbelievable.
I miss them dearly as does Hunter.
If you have the opportunity to set your child up with Sensory Swim, it will truly be a life changing experience for you and your child! "
Janet & Jim | Former residents of Reisterstown, Maryland (Baltimore County)
"Loves His Weekly Swimming Lesson"
He hated the classes and was scared of getting in the pool.
I had heard about the Sensory Swim program in Maryland but could not find a comparable program in Virginia where we live.
Later, we tried a few months of private swimming lessons at the local YMCA.
My grandson who has sensory integration issues was always cold in the pool and did not make any progress.
Luckily, a few months ago I discovered that Mary and Andrew began giving classes in Sterling ,Virginia and we were able to enroll my grandson in their program .
He is now eight years old and for the first time he loves his weekly swimming lesson.
Both Mary and Andrew are patient, innovating and make their lessons to be fun.
It is obvious that they really care for the children they teach.
My grandson is proud of his progress and has a lot of fun.
We are extremely happy we found Sensory Swim and I recommend this program highly to anyone who has a child with special needs."
Anna | Reston, Virginia (Fairfax County)
"Wishes Everyday Was Thursday"
My son has been working with Andrew and Mary for almost 3 years and he wishes every day was Thursday (the night he goes swimming).
They have so much patience and tailor how they teach to your child's strengths.
Before they opened their Bel Air location we drove 45 mins each way because they are so awesome!
Jenn | Joppa, Maryland (Harford County)
"More Confidence In Life"
She soon became very scared of what might be asked of her while in the water.
They didn't get "her" at all.
At Sensory Swim, the complete opposite is true.
She not only does what Mary asks of her, but she loves it!
The team at Sensory Swim really tailor their lessons to the individual child, which is hard to find.
I highly recommend them for swim classes for your child with special needs.
It has really given my daughter confidence in the pool, but also more confidence in life."
Rachel | Ashburn, Virginia ( Loudoun County )
My wife was the one that did the research and came across Andrew and Mary's website.
It sounded like a perfect idea.
Initially I contacted Andrew.
He was very prompt in returning my first phone call.
His genuine concern about every child prospect and caring about the impact and importance of the special swimming program, instilled credence in how they could help my son.
Every lesson I take my son to is a learning experience.
My son is instructed by Mary, who my son has phenomenal chemistry with.Watching her technique,
I understand what and why she is doing it but i would never of thought of it myself.
Andrew and Mary are a Godsent to our family!
Every lesson I take my son to is an exciting learning experience.
It's very exciting watching him make progress.
I root for him behind the two way mirror like I'm at the Super Bowl!
My son is now 4 1/2 months in and he has done things I didn't think he could do in the water.
Thank you Andrew and Mary for being part of our journey"
Eric | Washington, DC
" We Are Grateful"
We found Sensory Swim through a friend with autistic sons who had worked with Mary for a long time.
She & Andrew are amazing- calm, gentle and reassuring.
They are devoted to their students.
I see each of them with other kids before and after my son's lessons, and can see Mary and Andrew engage on a deep level with the children.
My son absolutely loves his classes and Mary, and we are grateful for the skills he has learned so far.
Cannot recommend the program highly enough. "
Jessica | Lutherville, Maryland (Baltimore County)
"Within A Few Months They Can Both Fully Swim"
We had been trying unsuccessfully to get them to swim for over 2 years & within a few months they can both fully swim & Christian is even starting to do the backstroke!
Maribel & Stephen | Vienna, Virginia ( Fairfax County)
"After Just Two Months"
Prior to Sensory Swim, my special needs son had swimming lessons with another instructor for about 6 months, and in that time, my son made little progress with swimming independently.
At Sensory Swim, after just 2 months, the instructors have taught my son to swim independently in the deep end of the pool with no flotation devices or assistance.
The instructors at Sensory Swim are experienced, enthusiastic, and caring and they have helped develop and challenge my son beyond what I thought possible.
I HIGHLY recommend Sensory Swim in every way."
Sam - Clarksville, Maryland ( Howard County )
"Sensory Swim is by far the best program that I have ever enrolled my son in.
He's only been enrolled for 3 months, but he absolutely loves going to his lessons, and wishes that they were longer than the half hour!
Devin has had one on one lessons at the Y and got along well with the instructor as he does with everyone, but the connections seemed out of obligation versus pure joy for the service that was being offered.
Unlike Sensory Swim who obviously enjoy teaching, cares for the children, and want everyone to be successful.
The lessons can be fun and innovative, but is also very effective.
We are extremely happy with Andrew and Mary's commitment, patience, love and pride for what they do, respect for everyone, and the love between them, which makes this an exceptionally well rounded program just for us!
The children also feels a sense of pride from their achievements, big or small.
If you are looking for a safe, friendly, family environment, then I highly recommend this program to anyone who has a child with special needs and who want their children to be safe in and around the water.
Sensory Swim = AWESOME!"
Tamara | Windsor Mill, Maryland ( Baltimore County)
We have been through four or five instructors without making any progress.
That is until he started taking lessons with Sensory Swim's Andrew & Mary
We drive one hour each way for once a week lessons.
Last week, our son actually dog-paddled across the deep end of the pool.
I have shed lots of tears watching him struggle these last four years.
Last week, my tears were full of joy.
Andrew & Mary are helping our son to develop confidence & a skill that he will have for the rest of his life.
Shari & Earl | Washington , DC
'So Much Progress"
We have tried private lessons for the last 5 years with no success.
She loves the water and we wanted her to learn to swim so she could be safe in and around the water.
She has made so much progress with Mary and is swimming.
Mary and Andrew are wonderful people who know how to teach kids with special needs to swim and be safe in the water.
My daughter is finally able to hold her breath and go underwater without choking for the first time after 5 years of trying to teach her personally and with other professional services.
I highly recommend Sensory Swim if you are looking for successful swim lessons for your special needs kids."
Ashley| Leesburg, Virginia (Loudoun County)
"All The Difference"
He's on the spectrum & as most kids go - he loves the water!
I was terrified hearing stories of kids drowning especially since we were going on a trip to Mexico & it was pools, oceans galore.
He joined Sensory Swim a few months prior to the trip with the goal of water safety.
I have to say my trip to Mexico & any other pool visits since then have been a pleasure.
He is completely at ease with all the abilities of floating, swimming to the edge etc that constitute water safety.
My younger one had water anxiety even though he is typical.
The anxiety was very vivid and restrictive in that he was very afraid of the water and being in the pools.
He joined his brother for lessons with Mary and he's now doing very well and is able to take regular swim lessons with other kids his age.
Sensory Swim is great and Andrew & Mary made all the difference for my boys!"
Brinda | Baltimore, Maryland
"An Incredible Experience"
One of the first things we noticed was that she was looking right into Mary's face and smiling most of the time she was in the water.
For someone who doesn't show her emotions very openly, that really stood out!
When she started lessons, she was afraid of deep water, very hesitant to put her face in the water, and hesitant to try much of anything without holding on someone or something.
But Mary's patience and expertise have brought her to where she will try almost anything.
She frequently puts her face in the water, dives in from the side of the pool, and was even swimming on her back by herself.
I am amazed at her progress and can't wait to see what new thing she will do each week!
Not only is she making progress in learning to swim, she is gaining a lot of confidence in herself and what she can accomplish.
We are so grateful to Mary and Andrew for their input into our daughter's life!"
Louise & Dave | Westminister, Maryland ( Carroll County )
I wasn't sure how long it would take for Nico to learn to swim since he was 6 and has never swam without a vest. I can tell you that not only can he swim now but he can go to the bottom of the pool and retrieve a ring!
This is amazing for a child that didn't ever put his face in the water.
Andrew and Mary are exceptional instructors with loads of patience.
They are loving and kind to my sweet special needs child and that speaks volumes.
I would highly recommend them and Sensory Swim - a God sent and blessing for our family."
Jan | Herndon, Virginia (Fairfax County)
"A Change Of Heart"
Every year for the past three or four years Kyle has been required to fill out a multiple choice questionnaire and write a brief narrative at school about his favorite sport.
For the past several years his choice has been the same – basketball.
Well this time around when filling out the questionnaire, he made it very clear that his previous selections are no longer valid & swimming is now his new favorite sport!
Kyle truly loves his Friday sessions and looks forward to laps in the pool with his favorite instructor – Andrew!
Thanks for all you do. "
June | Fort Washington, Maryland (Prince George's County)
"I Have Never Been As Happy"
"Andrew and Mary are some of the most dedicated,compassionate people I have ever known.
They worked with my 7 year old son week to week with such energy, positivity and expertise.
I have never been as happy with my sons swimming lessons as I have with them.
They are on time and always ready to go.
If you have a child with special needs and you want them to learn how to swim than definitely give these guys a call."
Heather - Nottingham, Maryland
" 3 Weeks"
"Andrew & Mary got my son swimming in 3 weeks!
We never expected it to happen so fast.
This has made such a difference in our lives.
Andrew & Mary really know how to connect with these special children & teach them.
They are angels from above.
Beth- Mclean, Virginia
My son is autistic and looked forward to lessons each week.
We are finally able to breathe a sigh of relief around water ways.
If you are looking for caring, experienced instructors , look no further.
Sensory Swim is the place for special kids and special parents. "
Yindra - Baltimore, Maryland
They are fabulous with each and every person no matter what their needs are and their hearts could be no bigger or moreopen !!
It is such a pleasure to watch them in action !! :)
Judy | Sterling, Virginia
He has always liked being in the water, but has never liked to get his head wet.
Laurence has overcome all of that thanks to his special needs swimming lessons at Sensory Swim with Andrew and Mary.
By slowly and patiently working with Laurence they have never run out of ideas on how to teach Laurence to swim.
Laurence first learned to do the crawl.
Next he learned to tread water and to float on his back.
Laurence does not like to wear goggles, and in the beginning when Laurence's eyes got water in the he was always rubbing them.
In time he learned to get over this and now he goes under water and comes to the surface with no signs of being bothered by the water
They slowly gained his trust, teaching him to dive into the water alone which he now enjoys doing all the time.
After about 10 months of one-half hour per week lessons, we lengthened his lesson to one hour per week after which he started to progress rapidly in his water skills.
Currently, Laurence is working on developing his swimming strokes.
I have watched Andrew and Mary work with special needs children, and I am very impressed with their dedication and ability to think out of the box.
They are true master in what they do to teach children like Laurence swimming skills."
Larry - Fallston, Maryland
" Not A One Size Fits All "
Their varied resourcefulness and research- based reasoning are assets, which are evident in their therapeutic-quality instruction and nurture as it relates to my son and his sessions.
They consistently show a wonderful grasp of the techniques and goals relating to my son’s development with swim, self- regulation, and sportsmanship.
A noteworthy aspect of Sensory Swim’s current experience is working in a diverse, community setting.
I know first -hand how successful Mary and Andrew are as swim instructors because they warmly welcomed my son, who is currently diagnosed with a developmental delay into his first experience of water play-and swim.
Mary and Andrew laid the foundation for ”learning is powerful and meaningful” in the mind and heart of my son, for a lifetime.
Sensory Swim enjoys the students and communicates well with them.
Their program is not a one size fits all, but is individualized as it relates to the child’s baselines and then achievable goals.
Sensory Swim is helping implement a strong foundation for our son that will enrich his future.
After each session, they provide quality feedback and offer sound best practices and next steps for the next session.
I see the attributes of patience, positive behavior systems, and response to interventions in each session.
This is exemplified by praises, high fives, if the stroke is not quite right, another strategy is applied, and smiles throughout the sessions
Sensory Swim comes highly recommended almost 3 years strong from toe in the water to 5 feet and strokes (swimming)!
May their continued contribution to sports, continue to be a strong success in the global world! "
Dr. Angela Stephens