Change Magazine January 2018 Issue - Page 28

the elation of those participating in our programs. The joy is palpable. You see the participants transform, surpass expectations, relax, have fun and bring a whole new meaning to the word ‘possibilities’. We have so many tears from parents who didn’t know their child had such capabilities. It’s truly an inspirational thing to be a part of, and not for one day do I take that for granted.” Big Future Ahead It’s been a hard and significant work over the first two years, and it hasn’t happened in isolation. “We like to reflect and celebrate where we’re at before we look at where we can go,” Ms Gleeson says. “We have received a mighty amount of support since day one which we’ll be forever grateful for. Fundamentally, we want Autism Swim to be the catalyst for changing the statistics. In years to come, I want to look at a statistical line graph and see the trend-line for drowning deaths in ASD decelerating significantly, all from the time that Autism Swim came to be. We want families to feel assured by what we’re doing, instructors feeling confident in what they’re delivering and individuals with ASD being equipped with knowledge and skills so that they can engage in water activities safely and, ultimately, happily.” About the Author Benjamin Cooper is a journalist who has worked for Reuters and Australia’s Special Broadcasting Service. He lives in Sydney and collects far too much obscure music. 24 Change Magazine January 2018 Change Magazine January 2018 25