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Understanding the unique challenges and needs of individuals on the autism spectrum or those seeking an autism assessment in Oxford, we have curated a resource aimed at parents, guardians, and schools. Our goal is to connect you with skilled swimming instructors and programs designed to offer supportive, understanding, and tailored swimming lessons for those with or seeking an autism diagnosis.

Swimming is not just a vital life skill; it’s a gateway to building confidence, enhancing physical health, and providing a sensory-friendly environment that many individuals with autism find calming and enjoyable. However, finding the right swimming lessons that cater to the specific needs of autistic learners can be challenging. That’s why we’ve taken steps to compile a list of providers in Oxford who are experienced in working with autistic individuals, ensuring a positive and enriching learning experience.

On this page, you’ll find detailed information about each provider, including their teaching philosophy, environment, and how they tailor their lessons to meet the needs of autistic swimmers. Whether you’re looking for one-to-one sessions, small group lessons, or programs that incorporate specific therapeutic approaches, we’re here to help you find the best fit for your child or ward.

We believe that every individual deserves the chance to learn to swim in a way that feels safe, supportive, and enjoyable. Let’s dive into the world of autism-friendly swimming lessons together, fostering a love for water and swimming in our community.

If you’re interested in this article, you may also wish to read our guide to ‘Autism Friendly Activities in Oxford’.

Aquatherapy in Oxford

After the Ormerod Pool in Oxford closed, it became hard to find places for swimming lessons for people with special needs in warm water. That’s why Aquatherapy was started. It offers one-to-one swimming lessons for children and adults with special needs. These lessons are in warm water because it helps relax the muscles and makes swimming easier and more comfortable.

The person who runs Aquatherapy has worked with many physiotherapists in the area for over 30 years. This experience means they know how to combine swimming with therapy to help people with special needs get the most out of their time in the water.

Aquatherapy is known for being very good at this because of the experience and the special training the founder has. They also offer group classes that are good for people with special needs (you can look at Aquakids/Babes for more).

If your child with special needs is starting to swim with their school, Aquatherapy can help. They go to schools in Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire to make swimming plans so your child can swim well and have fun with their classmates. They charge schools a low price for this service because they know schools don’t have a lot of money for it.


Telephone: 07949 729 384


Level Waters: Empowering Children with Disabilities Through Swimming in Oxford and Other Areas

Level Waters addresses the critical need for swimming lessons for children with disabilities, leveraging the unique benefits of water to provide equality, pain relief, and a sense of freedom. Their programs not only improve physical health but also boost confidence, resilience, and self-esteem, making a significant difference in the lives of these children.

Collaborative Efforts for Inclusive Swimming

By partnering with pools and swim schools across the UK, Level Waters ensures that high-quality, personalised swimming lessons are accessible. They focus on training instructors and securing funding to support children with disabilities, aiming to instil a lifelong love of swimming.

A Unified Mission for Change

Level Waters works with a wide network of supporters, including teachers, families, and pools, to offer tailored swimming lessons nationwide. Their vision is to ignite a passion for swimming in children with disabilities, fostering physical well-being and an optimistic outlook on life. Through dedicated efforts, Level Waters aspires to create a positive impact, encouraging a healthy start in swimming and a lasting affection for the water.


Oxford Swans Swimming Club: A Community of Support and Learning in the Water

Oxford Swans is a welcoming swimming club dedicated to providing swimming sessions for disabled and elderly individuals. Known for its friendly atmosphere and supportive environment, the club offers both one-to-one and group activities in the water, ensuring a tailored approach to each member’s needs. Sessions are held weekly: Tuesdays from 6 to 7 pm at Leys Pool in Blackbird Leys, and Saturdays from 10 am to 12 noon at Ferry Pool in Summertown.

Currently, Oxford Swans is on the lookout for volunteers to assist with supporting swimmers during sessions. The club emphasizes that proficiency in swimming is not a prerequisite for volunteering—just a passion for swimming and a willingness to help. Training and all necessary information will be provided by the club, which can be found on their website for those interested in volunteering.

Due to a shortage of volunteers, the club has had to introduce a waiting list for new swimmers. Those interested in joining are encouraged to get in touch to be added to the list, with the promise of being contacted as soon as openings become available.

Oxford Swans prides itself on teaching swimming through the Halliwick Concept, focusing on developing confidence and enjoyment in the water. This method involves varying levels of physical support, always communicated clearly by instructors, with the ultimate goal of fostering independence in swimmers. Members are also encouraged to pursue the Green Badge of the Halliwick Association of Swimming Therapy (Halliwick AST), signifying competence and the ability to swim unaided.

For more information or to join the waiting list, contact Hazel Beaver, the club’s secretary, via email or phone.

Contact Name: Hazel Beaver

Contact Position: Secretary

Telephone: 07768 294990



Tri Swim School Offering Autism Friendly Lesson in Oxford

Tri Swim School, a family-run business founded by a mother of three, emerged from a desire to offer superior swimming lessons in South Oxfordshire and Avebury near Marlborough. Disappointed by local offerings, she embarked on a mission to set new standards for children’s swimming lessons in Didcot, Wantage, Abingdon, and beyond.

A Positive Water Experience from the Start

At Tri Swim School, the belief is strong that every child deserves a joyful and positive introduction to swimming. With small, intimate classes, children are encouraged to progress at their own pace, learning vital safety skills in an environment that’s both fun and friendly.

Special Focus on Autism and Special Educational Needs

Understanding the unique challenges faced by children with autism and special educational needs, Tri Swim School offers tailored one-to-one and small group lessons. Highlighting the critical importance of swimming skills for safety, especially given the heightened risk of drowning for those with autism, the school prioritizes these lessons to ensure every child learns how to be safe around water.

Expertise in Special Needs Swimming

Head Coach Carolyn, with specialized training from Autism Swim, leads the school’s efforts as the sole specialist provider within a 50-mile radius of Abingdon. Her approach is customized, nurturing, and designed to foster a love and respect for water, enhancing both safety and swimming ability.

Accessible and Enjoyable Lessons

Tri Swim School offers a variety of lesson formats and settings to accommodate different needs and preferences. With options for private or small group lessons across several quiet and warm pool locations, the school ensures a comfortable and supportive environment for learning.

Booking and Contact Information

Lessons are in high demand, so advance booking or bulk purchasing is recommended to secure preferred times. For detailed pricing, availability, and booking instructions, interested parties are encouraged to visit the school’s website or contact Carolyn directly for a personal discussion about how Tri Swim School can support their child’s swimming journey.

Tri Swim School stands out for its commitment to providing a sensory-friendly swimming experience, particularly for neurodiverse individuals. The joy and transformation seen in swimmers, from non-verbal children to those eager to dive into the water, underscore the school’s passion for swimming and its impact.



Telephone: 07954356421

KEEN Oxford: Championing Inclusive Swimming Opportunities

KEEN Oxford is at the forefront of advocating for equal swimming learning opportunities for all children. Their vision is clear: every child should have the chance to participate in swimming lessons at the same venues, times, and costs as their peers. Through the Swimclusive! project, based in Oxfordshire, they’re pioneering the inclusion of all children in the sport of swimming, aiming to integrate fully inclusive swimming lessons into the regular schedules of leisure centres and swimming clubs.

KEEN is a charity dedicated to fostering inclusion across various platforms. With over 600 participants benefiting from their events, they have made significant strides in promoting inclusivity. Their efforts extend to collaborating with sports teams throughout Oxford, guiding them towards embracing a more inclusive approach. The initiative to make swimming clubs more inclusive is their latest endeavour, reflecting their commitment to broadening access to sports for everyone.

KEEN believes in building strong relationships within the swimming community to ensure that both recreational and competitive swimming is accessible to all. They offer support to clubs looking to become more inclusive, highlighting the numerous advantages of doing so. These benefits range from unlocking new funding opportunities, with more than £11 million available for Paralympic swimming in the UK, to boosting club membership and fostering a diverse, engaging, and welcoming club culture.

KEEN Oxford is not just about promoting inclusivity; it’s about creating a tangible impact that benefits clubs, communities, and, most importantly, the children who dream of swimming. Their work is a testament to the belief that sports, including swimming, should be a universal right, not a privilege.



Telephone: 07729286992


Swimrite is run by Louise Peffers, who knows a lot about teaching swimming and managing sports activities. She’s very experienced and recognized as a top swimming teacher.

Swimrite focuses on helping swimmers quickly learn skills by making sure lessons are fun and happen in a friendly place. This way of teaching has made lots of people happy and keeps them coming back. Thanks to this success, Swimrite has been able to offer more types of swimming classes and use more swimming pools.

07717 454011




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