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'Adapted Aquatics' working to make water safety more accessible

Posted at 10:49 PM, Sep 30, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-01 01:49:46-04

Water safety and swim lessons are year-round priorities in Arizona and now several cities and swim schools are stepping up to make sure people with disabilities know there are resources available.

Desiree Gray is learning to swim and like a lot of parents, Desiree's mom, Roxanne Peralta, is really concerned about safety.

"We just moved into a house that has a pool and so my biggest concern is drowning right now," she said.

Desiree is developmentally delayed and requires a little extra help and patience in the water.

"I feel like as a parent of a child with special needs I have to take the responsibility for her to learn since she can't take it upon herself," Peralta said.

That is where Vicki King with The British Swim School East Valley comes in.

"It's repetition, repetition, repetition," King said.

As the adapted aquatics instructor, King is more than ready to accommodate students with physical and developmental disabilities, everything from cerebral palsy to down syndrome, spina bifida, and autism.

"There is no disability that cannot be in the water," King said. "There's ability, there is only ability, and you have to focus on what the ability is and how we can expand that into the water."

So far Desiree is loving her time in the pool, and Peralta says it is a win-win for the whole family.

"It's really helped with her balance and coordination," Peralta said. "It's hard to find programs for kids with special needs for physical activity, and this gives them that health and fitness, as well as survival skills."