Pembroke Pines swim school raises funds for autism water safety program

PEMBROKE PINES, Fla. – A swimming school in Pembroke Pines will be hosting a Saturday fundraiser to benefit a program by the world's leading autism science and advocacy organization.

Autism Speaks is an organization that offers scholarships to swimming schools to help children with autism. The organization has a program that places emphasis on the importance of learning water safety.

The British Swim School instructors warn that drowning is the leading cause of death for children with autism.

"They don't know the danger that goes with swimming and the water," Elizabeth Zayas-Hines said. "They will usually get to any body of water and kind of just jump in."

There are difficulties when teaching children with autism. But instructors have developed several techniques to teach special needs children how to swim.

On May 16, Autism Speaks awarded about $237,000 from their water safety scholarship fund to swimming programs across the country. In South Florida, the YMCA of South Palm Beach County was awarded a scholarship.

The British Swim School offers classes in 6861 Southwest 196th Ave. in Pembroke Pines, 2084 N. University Dr. in Sunrise, 3200 Palm Ave. in Hialeah and in Miramar and Hollywood.

The school will be hosting the Swim Now For Autism Speaks event  from 2 to 5 p.m., Saturday, August 16 at Temple Kol Ami Emanu-El, 8200 Peters Road, in Plantation. For information, call 954-747-7251.