Many autistic children love water, and it is therapeutic to an extent to be in a swimming pool. The water provides a certain uniform pressure to the entire body. It also provides support for a wide range of body movements, and can be a good form of exercise and an outlet for some of those unwanted energies.
The down side to this is the chlorine in the water which is bad for autistic children; Its thought to kill the good bacteria in their body and create some toxic byproducts that are difficult to excrete. It definitely makes Sahil hyperactive.
But we take certain precautions, we try not to let him stay in the pool beyond half an hour or 40 minutes maximum. Post swimming he is immediately given a a bath where he is scrubbed thoroughly, and rubbed down with some magnesium sulphate cream.
Some autistic children, just like normal children are afraid of water. The fear is not something permanent, however any forced or unpleasant experiences are likely to reinforce this fear and change it to something which is difficult to convert. Sahil was also initially afraid of water, but clinging to us like a limpet he gradually got used to it. We started when he was quite young, but the fear recurred every year when swimming season arrived. With regular exposure using armbands and tubes Sahil learned that he actually loved the water and slowly by the age of 3 he was able to propel himself using his hands.