Rehtaeh B.

Haselwood Family YMCA

Rehtaeh began her journey with the Y through youth programs, but over time, the group atmosphere and structure of the class became too challenging for her due to her autism. Mary, her caregiver, suggested swimming as a way to regulate her energy and emotions.

“I wanted to offer her an activity that would allow her the opportunity to exercise, while maintaining a safe environment when she becomes overstimulated,” Mary shared.

When Rehtaeh started private swim lessons, she was scared and resisted the water. Slowly, her instructor Fitz, gained her trust and she worked up the courage to dip her feet in the water. Within months Rehtaeh was jumping in the pool and going down the slide without hesitation.

“We continuously searched for ways to accommodate Rehtaeh,” said Fitz. “We were very open to finding her process and on the days we were successful we were moved to tears.”