Change Magazine January 2018 Issue - Page 26

Serious Skills It’s a big task, but one she has the requisite skills to tackle. The Behaviour and Autism Specialist has worked internationally in London and Sri Lanka, as well as nationally across Perth, Canberra and Sydney. She’s also been twice nominated for Young Australian of the Year and recently was named one of Australian Anthill’s 30 Under 30 winners. “I was desperate for all of my clients to engage in swimming services,” she says. “I contacted all the swimming services in the area, however the feedback I received was fairly consistent: they wanted to help, but lacked the necessary skills and expertise.” Service providers also said they’d experienced failure after failure in the past. “I had all of the clinical knowledge in terms of how the ASD brain acquires skill-sets, how to respond to behaviours of concern, how to alleviate sensory challenges and the overall therapeutic and support needs of individuals with ASD. It was simply a matter of applying these to water environments.” A Solution is Born Thus, was born Autism Swim (AS), a multi-disciplinary program using Behavioural Specialists, Occupational Therapists and Swimming Teachers to right the alarming wrongs of water safety for people with ASD. “I didn’t sit down and decide to start a business, meticulously planning how to go about this” Ms Gleeson, the company’s Clinical Director, says. “I just leapt into action and the rest merely followed. I worked with a wonderful young man named Paddy in trialling our methodologies and principles. As a result, I was able to bring together a wonderful, clinical team to design training, resources and support packages so that this information could be really accessible for people far and wide.” AS now operates across Australia, the United States and Malaysia. It has become the peak body for swimming and water safety and ASD in Australia. It has received primetime coverage in Australia by television broadcasters the Nine Network and the Special Broadcasting Service, with total online views of these stories climbing upwards of 100,000. Scenes of children confidently swimming in diffe [\]X]X™[\ۛY[HXX\œT&\YYXHݙ\YK]8&\HY\YHX][\\Y\X]HHܛ ']8&\\][ܙBY[[H][H]\˘[[XYYZ[Y\H[HXY^[H[X\H N