Sunrise swimmers to swim for autism awareness

The Sunrise Swim Team is all set to hold the maiden “Autism Swims” event at the Sunrise Civic Center Aquatics Complex on March 29, just ahead of the Autism Awareness Month.

Led by Diego Avellaneda, a member of the Team since 2008, the event is expected to raise awareness about the benefits of swimming for children with autism. The Autism Society of Broward is actively supporting Diego in his efforts to make a positive difference in the lives of autistic children who face enormous challenges every day. Sunrise Commissioner Neil Kerch and Mayor Mike Ryan are also enthusiastic about the upcoming meet.

“We are so proud of Diego, not only for caring so deeply for those with (autistic) challenges, but also for recognizing that their challenges are not impediments to being champions. Diego’s vision and his making a difference in their lives is highly commendable,” the Mayor said.

Teammate Jason Duran, who is on the autism spectrum, is Diego’s source of inspiration. “In the beginning, Jason didn’t communicate much or really swim, but now he speaks to everyone and makes friends. Swimming is a big positive influence and has helped him socially, mentally and physically,” Diego remarked. Regular swimming classes have helped Jason overcome some of the major challenges of autism, including sensory difficulties, social shyness, sleeplessness and short attention span.

The event will be open to swimmers aged 5-18 years.

The benefits of aquatic therapy for individuals with autism are well documented in medical literature.

Image courtesy of Sun Sentinel

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