Teaching Special Needs Swimming with Tenaya Goldsmith

Today we’re going to tackle a heavy but necessary topic: water safety. For kids under the age of five, drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death. But for kids with autism, they are 160 times more likely to drown than their typically developing peers. The gap between those numbers is huge, and that’s one of the reasons I wanted to talk with Tenaya Goldsmith from Big Kahuna Swim. Tenaya teaches special needs swimming to children of all ages and abilities, and she’s sharing with me the 8 essential water safety skills that every child needs to learn.

I know that when kids with autism go missing from home or schools, they are often drawn to water. This fascination with water could be deadly if they lack basic water safety skills. Simply avoiding swimming pools and oceans won’t solve this problem because children can drown in hot tubs, baby pools, or even bathtubs.

Tenaya teaches children from a very young age the 8 basic water safety skills that can prevent drowning. Floaties and life jackets can give parents an illusion of safety because they think that if their child can float, they won’t drown. These 8 water safety skills are essential to keep children safe in water, no matter how deep or shallow it is.

Tenaya shares some tips for teaching water safety with me, and how she addresses the challenge of teaching children who are afraid of the water. If you’d like to learn from Teyana, you can sign up for her virtual swimming course, which instructs parents on key techniques that will keep their children safe and turn them into confident swimmers.


Tenaya started Big Kahuna Swim Academy back in 2015 with a goal of spreading awareness on drowning prevention and water safety in order to help families become water safe. Tenaya has been teaching water safety and swimming over the past 12 years and has been working with kids for over 20 years! Aside from her beautiful daughter, nothing is more important to her than making sure that families can gain the peace of mind knowing that their kids and loved ones are safe in and around the water! Tenaya is also the Head Swim Coach for the Notre Dame High School Swim Team.


  • How you can have a virtual swimming instructor even during the pandemic.
  • Why relying on life jackets and floaties for safety are dangerous for kids who are drawn to water.
  • The benefits of starting babies in swimming lessons.
  • 8 water safety skills that every child must learn.

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Transcript for Podcast Episode: 082
Teaching Special Needs Swimming with Tenaya Goldsmith
Hosted by: Dr. Mary Barbera

Mary: You're listening to The Turn Autism Around podcast episode number eighty-two. Today, I have a friend of mine, Tenaya Goldsmith from the Big Kahuna Swim School in Southern California. And Tenaya is going to talk to us about how to teach swimming to kids with autism and also how to teach swimming to even typically developing babies. And she talks about the eight water safety skills she teaches and how to prevent drowning. So we are going to talk all about that. So Tenaya has been teaching swimming to kids with and without disabilities for over a decade. She is a head swim coach at a high school in Southern California, and she's a single mom of a two-year-old who is currently learning to swim. So let's get to this important interview with Tenaya Goldsmith.

Mary: So thanks for joining me today tonight. So good to have you here.

Tenaya: Thank you. Thank you for having me. I'm so glad to be here.

Mary: Awesome. So I know you haven't really fallen into the autism world, but I know that you do have some experience with autism. But describe your fall into the world of teaching swimming? And how did you get involved with that?

Tenaya: Of course. So I started teaching kids when I was a kid, around 10, 11 years old. And then when I was a sophomore in high school, there was a senior that drowned because he didn't know how to swim properly. And it was a week before his graduation. It was heartbreaking for the whole community. And, you know, even people about don't know them well were hit pretty hard by it. So I got an opportunity after high school to start teaching swimming. And I just jumped right on it like I was just all for it. And I've been doing it ever since 2008. And I absolutely adore helping families get their kids water safe so they don't either have to have a situation like that they to ever go through something like that. And through that experience, I've been able to work with a lot of kids with special needs.

Tenaya: And, you know, one incredible thing to me to see how amazingly smart these kids are. And we have a student right now who's 10 years old, who's autistic, and he is verbal and is this smart....he knows like five different languages. I'm justblown away by him. But it's been very eye opening to seethe different ways of how you teach someone with autism rather than someone that doesn't have autism. But all kids how to swim with us that I think are now water safe. And they're all just amazing.

Mary: That's great. And I know that kids with autism, I don't have any statistics actually at my fingertips, but I know they have a very high rate of drowning. Do kids in general, is that a big cause of death, drowning in general?

Tenaya: Yes, it is. So for kids under the age of five, it's the leading cause of unintentional death. So and then for kids that are autistic, they have one hundred and sixty times more likely to die from drowning than, say, another child.

Mary: So under the age of five typically developing kids, or all kids it's the leading number one cause of unintentional death is through drowning. And then kids with autism are a hundred and sixty times more likely to drown than their typically developing peers. Wow. Those are some crazy statistics. And I know one of my former clients, about five years ago. He wandered away from his home and he drowned in the neighbor's pool. That was left unlocked unintentionally. I think the neighbor was home. His gate was unlocked and unhinged. And he was six at the time, wandered away from his home and drowned on a sunny summer, June day in the middle of the day. And it was very tragic. And I know I had asked you before you were on the show to take a look at that video, because I know one of the reasons I wanted to have you today to interview you is because I wanted to learn more to help the parents and professionals listening, not to scare them into some kind of, you know, major stress situation.

Mary: But I do know that his mom, I interviewed her a few years ago and she told a very, you know, eloquent story, a horrific story of hers, her son's drowning, but she has gone on to promote water safety and gone on to, you know, tell us things that she didn't know back when hewas alive. So we are going to put that video, that link to a video of me with my interview with Melissa about his drowning in the show notes here. But those are really scary statistics that kids with autism are so much more likely to drown. They're usually drawn to water. I know when kids wander and go missing from homes or schools, a lot of times you need to look for the water. And I know when my son Lucas was really little, he was really very much drawn to the water, too. And he went missing a few times. Luckily, it didn't end in a tragic situation like Braden. But I know a lot of families and I know I've done bonus videos and podcasts and video blogs on safety.

Mary: And, you know, in addition to this this interview and Melissa's interview, I think, you know, just trying to start talking about it more so that people are aware that there are things that they could do potentially. And I know another really unique thing about you Tenaya is that you teach both in person in Southern California, swimming lessons in person. But you also have recently added an online training school to your organization. So, like, how do you teach kids to swim online? Like, what's that like?

Tenaya: Well, it's really cool, actually. And there's not a whole lot of schools that are doing this. They're pretty much none that I'm aware of, but did it during our lockdown with cold 19. But what we did is we took our training videos, which we train our instructors with. So are all of our instructors that trained with us watch these training videos on how to teach all of what we call the AP water safety skills. And then from there, they do their in-the-water training. So what we're doing is we're giving parents access to those videos so they get to watch all those videos and doesn't just talk about how to do those certain skills with your kids, but also talks about the kind of mindset you want to be in. You want your kids to be in, you know, the things that you should be thinking about before you start one month and then getting in the water with your kids.

Tenaya: And so we give them that and then we give them access to two virtual swim lesson a week with me. And so I get to get on a call with them and to really fine tune some of the things that they're doing with their kids in the water. And, you know, if they have any obstacles or challenges that they're faced with, I walk them through that and then they also get access to our private Facebook group to where they can connect with other parents in the program. They can connect with our instructors, with myself, and they have constant access to me. So if they ever need me, they can give me a call or shoot me a text, send me an email, and I'm right there for them. One hundred percent all the time.

Mary: Wow. So when you do meet with people for virtual lessons, are they actually are the kids actually in the water?

Tenaya: Yes. Generally speaking, they are. I encourage them to have their kids in the water so I can kind of walk through them. But, you know, if they're having trouble getting their kids, do Ivan and put their face in the water. We kind of work on that and really just step by step, help them to get their kid to want to put their feet in the water and learn how to hold their breath and all.

Mary: Wow. Yeah, it's amazing. I know that there are both parents and professionals and other caregivers listening to this podcast. And it's amazing. Before I kind of fell into the world of online marketing and online training. I didn't really think much about what you could teach online. But like, the sky's the limit. I mean, you and I met through Jeff Walker's world of launch club and online training. But you can learn to play tennis online. You can learn to ride a horse more safely or better online. You can learn to train your dog to be in the agility performance or the agility competition world. And it's just amazing how, you know, even some things like swimming lessons can go completely online. So it's exciting to get to know that you don't have to be exactly in the same location. You don't have to, you know, and then different environments.

Mary: Like I'm in Pennsylvania. So, you know, our pool season is pretty short. It's only about four or five months in length total. You know, and that sometimes it's even shorter. And during COVID 19, a lot of the pools are even closed, making it even tougher. But I know that kids with autism often need year-round kind of education because you can go for nine months and then you try to get them back into the pool for swimming lessons or back into the pool in general. And it's tough to repair especially if the child is not loving the pool. Going from year to year without access to an indoor pool, for instance, where I live or without access on a frequent basis. It can get tricky.

Tenaya: Yeah. Yes, it can, yeah. And we're a big proponent of telling our clients take it out, like you need to be very consistent with swim lessons with your child because like you said, if you go four months, and they stop for a couple months. They're most likely going to regress and go backwards. And one, that's obviously not helpful to the child in their progression, but also for the parents from a financial standpoint. It's a waste of money when that happens. I really encourage parents that if you're going to start swim lessons or really stick with it and to do it consistently and for if your child is on the spectrum to really have that be a drawn out process because it does take kids on the spectrum longer to learn than it would say a child that's not on the spectrum.

Tenaya: So I just really encourage all clients, no matter whether your kids on the spectrum or not, to really just stay consistent and do it until they are going to go. And our clients that have kids that are autistic, they are doing well. And even after their kids are safe, like the one I was talking about earlier, is learning stroke technique. Right now he's learning how to freestyle and streamline, which is amazing. And so the other student who is also learning how to do streamline and things like that. So it helps to reinforce what they've already learned. So keeping that consistency is super important.

Mary: Yeah. OK. So I know with his mom, when I interviewed her about his drowning, one of the things that she said she didn't know that was a big problem and it probably led to his drowning, is that she always had arms floaties on him when he was around water. So she then learned after the drowning that relying on lifejackets or floating is a problem because then kids that, especially those that are naturally drawn to the water, if you turn your back or if you if they wander away, they're more at risk to drown. So do you also feel that way? That the floaty wings and the like jackets are an impediment to learning to swim?

Tenaya: Oh, definitely, yes. We tell our clients, unless you're on a boat, do not put a life jacket or floaties on your child. You should be in the water with them, monitoring them, helping them, you know, working on the different skills they should be working on. That's for those floating is what happens is they promote a vertical swimming. So doggy paddling, things like that. That's what it promotes. And that's not how you're supposed to be safe in the water. And the way I explain it to clients is that if you were to fall into the ocean miles off shore and you tried to you follow your way back, you wouldn't make it. You'll drown before you got back.

Tenaya: And so that's why we teach them how to put their face in the water and teach a horizontal swimming where they're rolling over and floating on their back to take a breath and relax and regain their composure in their breath and then rolling over, putting their face in again and kicking. And if you do that all the way back to shore, you'll make it. It'll just take you a while. So it's a sustainable way of swimming. It's a safe way of swimming. And if you start putting your kids in those floaties and lifejackets when they don't need to be, that will make them regress, make them go backwards and promote that unsafe swimming that I talked about.

Mary: And the other important thing and I do want to talk about the eight skills that you teach for water, safety. I think that would be helpful to get a general overview. But I also want to make the point that kids can drown right with you standing there and that it's super important that if you do have a child that is not water safe, that you are not that you are eyes-on-them in the water with them, whatever it takes to keep them safe, because it is a very silent thing.

Mary: Like people think like drowning is a loud thing and it's not. It's the child slips under water and they could drown. So super important not you know, I think that's why as parents we tend to put clothes on and stuff like that because we know it's like hard to keep your attention on kids all the time. But it's really important to monitor the kids and not just keep an eye on them, quote unquote.

Tenaya: Exactly. Yeah. And I mean, I tell parents all the time, like, I have a daughter myself. She's two and she's learning how to swim. And I watch her like a hawk by the pool. And we have a pool fence that goes around and it locks and she can't reach it. So that's good. But like, if we're by the pool or by any body of water, I'm watching her like a hawk. It's like you said, it's silent and a lot of people don't know that. Is that when someone drowns, it usually is silent. You have no idea what's going on. You have no idea it's happening.

Mary: So you said your daughter is two and learning to swim. What age can you teach children to swim? I think I've seen videos of babies learning to swim. Would you recommend that? Or is it ever too early or ever too late?

Tenaya: So really, generally not ever too early to start teaching your child how to swim. So generally, kids, from my knowledge, start to crawl around like anywhere from six to 10 months will start to crawl. Some crawl earlier. Once they start crawling, all bets are off. You know, they're mobile. They can get places and get there fast. So what I tell parents is as long as our umbilical cord hits heal, you should start getting them introduced to the water, start getting them in the water, start getting them used to water on their face. At that age, they can start learning how to hold their breath and they can do assisted backload. But and then once they hit about four months old when they can, they're physically and developmentally capable of doing a backflip by themselves.

Tenaya: So if you get them started by after like, say, like a month or two after they're born, by the time they're four months, you could start really working on those independent back floats And by the time they're a year old, they could be swimming across the pool by themselves.

Mary: Wow. So did you get your daughter in the pool right away?

Tenaya: Yeah, I started her and the water pretty early. I was unable to do the consistency because of everything that's gone on in our lives. But now she's at a point where she's rolling over and floating by herself. She's learning how to kick and all that kind of stuff. But the reason why they start so young is because when they hit those developmental milestones, you want them to be able to, you know, hit the ground running and be able to do those skills that align there. So like I say, if you start them off after their umbilical cord heals, they could potentially, by the time they start crawling, know how to roll over and float on their back. So if they were to crawl into the pool, they'd be able to roll over and float on their back and save themselves and just float there. So that's why I say get them started so young. Yes. It's going to be more time doing some lessons. But you'll be safe starting them at a much younger age than, say, like two or three or five or, you know, usually when parents start their kids and swim lessons.

Mary: OK, so let's talk about the eight skills. Do you want to just briefly tell me what they are?

Tenaya: Yeah. So the first skill is eyes in submersion. So we teach them how to hold their breath, how to put their face in the water. The second one is gliding. So getting them used to the water, moving past them and then moving through the water. The third one is back floating. So they do a backload catch their breath. Fourth one is rolling over so they can actually get their back flow and then kicking. So that's their motor. That's how they'll get around the pool. U-turns in turning around. We teach that if they were to ever fall into the pool, we want them to swim back to the closest wall.

Tenaya: So if they can do essentially a U-turn in the pool or turn themselves around, they'll be able to get back to that close wall much faster than going to the other side of the pool. And then the final two are how to get into the pool safely and get out of the pool safely. So a lot of kids like to jump in the pool and a lot of kids jump up and straight down and they give it their head on the back to the pool when they do that. So we teach them to jump forward out into the pool or to fall forward if they're sitting on the side. Fall forward how to go down into the pool via the steps. How to climb out on the steps and how to climb out on the side of the pool.

Mary: Wow. And do you always go in order or do sometimes you teach a kid to float before they put their face in?

Tenaya: Generally speaking, we usually go in that order. And then beginning, we really try to personalize our lessons to the students because every student learns differently, no matter they have special needs or not, every kid learns differently. So we try to go at the kids pace. And if there is no risk, we really try to just go slow with them and get them acclimated. Get that trust and bond and respect and rapport with the child and the parents themselves as well. But yeah, we tried to do things in order.

Tenaya: But sometimes when I say that, like, if there's a kid that's doing really well with eyes-in, but not so much on their backflow, we might add in kicking, you know, just to give them something that they are ready for, that they can put their face in and then glide pretty well. They can kick. So we might add in kicking, we might add in, you know, how to fall into the pool from the side. But for the most part, we've tried to go in that order because they skills to build off of each other. Your child can't learn how to roll over until they learn how to float on their back. What are they going to do when they roll over. They're not going to be able to do anything? So we do try to go in order as much as possible.

Mary: Yeah, and I know sometimes for kids, especially kids on the spectrum, they can be scared. He didn't like people. The doctor looking in his ear, you know. And so as he got bigger, you know, then they were like, have two or three people hold him down for looking at his ear. And that kind of thing. You think like, oh, well, just hold him down. But I'm a big proponent as a registered nurse and a behavior analyst, I can see these things, not just for my son, but all the kids that I've worked with or taught their parents online. Is that that holding down for an ear check, for instance, could then spill over to getting a shower? Or maybe the water's too hot in the shower or, you know, his brother was in the bathtub with him and splashed him or threw a cup of water in his face.

Mary: And then suddenly now the bathtub becomes aversive. Now the swimming pool becomes aversive. And so I'm a big proponent of pairing and repairing and trying to get and keep the child in a calm state so that they can work. Because I think hysterical crying, they're obviously not going to be able to learn. So do you it like encourage parents to bring positive reinforcers or do you play games or do you use modeling or how do you get kids to, you know, calm down and happily participate?

Tenaya: Yeah. So what we find a lot is that no matter the needs of the child, if they haven't been in a structure like a lesson type of structure, aren't used to taking directions.

Mary: Are there ways that you pair up, quote, unquote, the pool to make it more fun so that you that the kids can come in and know that it's calm?

Tenaya: Yeah, I mean, like I said before, we really focus on getting that rapport in that respect and that trust with the students, like that's paramount. If we don't get that, you know, what we're doing is off or not, essentially. So especially if they are older and can communicate a little bit better. And even if they can't, you know, trying to pay attention to their cues on like, you know, when they do certain things, like we had a student the other day who when he came up from putting his face in the water, he was like super tense. Right. And his eyes were like, shut closed.

Tenaya: So that tells me that he's not comfortable with his eyes giving what's right. And so just picking up on things like that. And I've been doing this for so long that I pick up on those things. Super powers. And so I will, you know, automatically like if there I see some type of adversity like that. I know it's not going to come out well. I will automatically redirect and do something else. I'll give them a toy. I'll be like, oh, you know, like, look at that bird over there. Something like that. And if I can communicate with the child, it's we really want to figure out what's going on in that trial. And they will most definitely tell us. They're not shy to tell us, though, if they're afraid of the pool for a certain reason or afraid of putting their face in the water. We'll ask them why are you afraid? What's scary about it?

Mary: And if it's something you can ask the parent if it's a child. Yeah. Okay. Well, and I think definitely, you know, you did tell me earlier that a child may have had a bad experience with other swim instructors or they may, you know, had almost like a near drowning experience, you know, coming off a slide once or something. And you know what? I think what you're describing here is what we do for every area is we do an aside and that may involve in interviewing the parent, watching the child for cues, watching their comfort level. Do they just go into the pool? Do you need to have some tool pool toys up with you to kind of pair up the pool to make it, you know, when you're a stranger? So involve the parents as much as needed to kind of transfer that trust.

Mary: Also having, you know, parents in the water during these online swimming lessons. The parent is the main instructor. Right. And working with them. And I think the more involved the parents, and this is for every skill, language, swimming, potty training, the more involved the parent is, the more generalization you'll get. And the more they use those skills maybe to have them tolerate going from a bath to a shower or tolerate getting their hair washed, you know, because these are some of the same skills, you know, putting your face on water. Yeah, I think there's a lot of carryover between what we do to teach language and what we do to teach swimming.

Tenaya: Exactly. And when we have a new student, we always talk with the parents, like, get an idea. Has your kid had swim lessons before? What's their experience in the water? Do you have a pool at home? Do you guys go in the water a lot? When you go in the water, what do you do? You know, we really try to get those answers from the parents before we actually get the child into the water. And we always encourage parents to ask questions because there are a lot of parents out there that they just don't know. They don't know what water safety skills their kids should learn. And some swim schools have weird names for them, like starfish and sea otter and things like that. And they don't actually know what the skills are. They don't know it's called back floating. It's called rolling over, it's called eyes-in, you know, all those kinds of things.

Mary: Yeah. So that the eight skills, again, just very slowly. So it's eyes in the water. So that's like your face in the water. Right. Eyes in the water. And the second one is gliding. So that would be like going forward.

Tenaya: Yeah. So this one would be getting their faces in the water. So their face would be in the water and the front of their body would be in the water as well. So some moving through the water so they can get used to how that water feels moving past them, because sometimes that's a really weird thing.

Mary: And even a one-year old baby could learn to do that?

Tenaya: Yeah, it's mainly just them giving the feeling of it, not necessarily them gliding themselves, like pushing up a wall and doing it, but just getting used to that feeling of moving through the water.

Mary: OK, so eyes in, gliding. What's third? Back float. So floating on your back. OK. I've done that. OK, what's the fourth?

Tenaya: So rolling over to their back float or rolling over to eyes-in.

Mary: OK, so rolling from front to back. Either floating or eyes-in. OK. I got that fifth one is?

Tenaya: Kicking. And then U-turns and turning around.

Mary: U-turns and turning around, OK. To get to the wall.

Tenaya: And then getting in the pool safely and then getting out of the pool safely. OK.

Mary: And do you focus a lot on getting to the wall?

Tenaya: Yes. So the first thing that we want them to be able to do. If they were to fall into the water just to roll over and have a stable back float to be able to float there and what not. Because if they can do that, they can float there. And if their parents come out, whichever comes out, they see them, they're floating, they're fine. They're waiting to be picked up. So that's the first thing that we want them to know how to do and to master after that would be rollover, float on your back. Okay, now go eyes-in and find the wall and swim back to it and get out.

Mary: Yeah. And what age would a child have to be to get to a wall and get out?

Tenaya: Around two is when they're physically able to pull themselves out of the water and they've been working on it until then, we'll work on them getting out a pool to help build up their muscles and things like that. So once they hit that two year mark, they usually have the strength to pull themselves out of the pool by themselves.

Mary: Wow, that's amazing. You know, I know that I've seen videos. I've seen some of your videos where you're teaching babies to swim underwater and stuff is like it's just amazing to me how early and how kind of instinctual it is to swim. And, you know, it's not this, you know, just far off idea that you could actually teach your child to be a swimmer and to be safe around water, which is really cool for those of parents and professionals out there. We also want to mention that kids can also drown in hot tubs and even in bathtubs, in buckets of water and baby pools outside. And so it's not just swimming pools or the ocean. Do you have experience with that or do you give guidance to parents on how to watch those other water sources?

Tenaya: Yes. So I'm a big proponent of safety measures, putting safety measures in place to protect your child against things like that. You know, like if your child in the bathtub, don't take your eyes off of them, if stand in there with them, get prepared ahead of time. Stay in there with them. Don't walk away. And then if they go outside, there's a little kiddy pool. Again, we'll be there with them. Make sure that when they're done, you dump out the water, you put it away, all that good stuff. You don't want to leave stuff out there like that. Right. You don't want to leave those potential dangers out there. And if they have a pool, they should get a pool them that their kids can't get into a pool. And those are pretty easy to find to get people that can sell them for you, too. And we have one here that my daughter can't unlock or anything like that because she's not tall enough yet. And when we got back, my daughter was crawling before we even got the pool in. And once we got that, it was a huge relief to know that we had a safeguard in place where she couldn't get over there.

Tenaya: She's completely blocked off. I want you to know those skills, those 8 basic water safety skills. If they're in the bathtub and they, like, slip and fall or don't roll over and float like there, once they have that, as they've mastered those skills, it becomes instinct. It becomes second nature. So they'll automatically do that. But you don't want to even have that type of situation in the first place. So just making sure you watch them. And if you are done with the kiddy pool, put it away. If there's a bucket of water outside, just dump it out. You know, it'll take you ten, fifteen seconds to do that. And it's much easier to do that than having to go through a loss of a child.

Mary: And if you own a pool or your neighbor's own a pool, make sure you talk to them, talk to your spouse, send the lawn guy and pool maintenance people about the importance. Make sure you have a good locking mechanism that locks itself or everyone is on it. So that the gates aren't propped open and that there's no. Oh, well, it's Tuesday. So the gates open because the lawn guys forgot to close it. And that, I think is is also a big responsibility of anybody that the pool or a hot tub or any kind of water situation because you don't want to, you know, leave liability open to you. And, you know, it's just such a heart wrenching situation when someone when a child drowns anyway. But, you know, if it was because your gate was open, it's just double heart wrenching. So I think it's really important that you educate other neighbors and yourself and, you know, whoever has pools.

Mary: I know in Southern California where you live, it's quite common in Pennsylvania when our season is pretty short, it's not as common. But I think educating and just being aware also to note that kids with autism might also have seizure disorders. And I've known at least one child has died having a seizure in the hot tub. So, you know, just because they can swim when they're conscious doesn't mean that they're not going to have a seizure and risk drowning as well. So it's good. It's always, you know, even for your eye, it's a good idea to always swim with a buddy. Yeah, just in case of an accident or an emergency or a seizure or something like that. So I think that's also another good thing to mention.

Tenaya: Yeah. I definitely agree with you that I don't think that anyone should swim by themselves. You should always have someone there always, and especially with a child, you're talking about a child that had a seizure disorder and if they have any sort of disorders like that, you always need to be aware. You need to be taking extra precautions. And, you know, just being really present in that moment with them, because I've had friends who have had seizures or have been epileptic and they have to take extra precaution all the time to make sure that they're safe and everything like that. So always having someone there with you. And I'll go swimming with my daughter sometimes the majority of the time, we have my parents out there, too, with that, just in case, you know. I think something's going to happen. But just in case something were to happen, we want that extra security there, that extra help and support that will help in a situation like that.

Mary: So this has been a very enlightening episode, kind of a little on the depressing side talking about drowning. But if we can prevent drowning and get our kids water safe, I think it's hugely important. So part of my podcast goals are to poor parents and professionals to be less stressed and lead happier lives. So do you have any self-care tips or stress reduction strategies that you use? Not even related to swimming. Just, you know, how do you keep yourself? You know, to be less stressed.

Tenaya: Man, that's good. Lately, it's been tough with the current situation in the world, but usually I meditate. So I do a lot of meditation throughout the week. And just a lot of thinking. I read, too. I listened to audiobooks and that's very calming and just helps me kind of get back to ground zero and get my thoughts in order and things like that. So those are the big two things that I do. Yeah. I love the water. So if I'm in the water, I'm pretty good.

Mary: Good. So you meditate, you read, listen to audiobooks and you swim for stress reduction. I think those are excellent ways. So how could people find out more about your online course or if they happen to be in Southern California, your in-person classes, how can they find you? What's your Web site?

Tenaya: It's a BigKahunaSwim.com and that has all of our information about virtual swim lessons then in person.

Mary: So BigKahunaSwim.com and you spell Kahuna, K-A-H-U-N-A. And we will link that in the show notes as well. So thank you so much for your time today, Tenaya. And I learned a lot. And we know that kids with autism are much more at risk for drowning and there are there are ways to teach them to be safe around water. So. Thanks so much for your expertise in this area.

Tenaya: Of course. Thank you so much for having me today, Mary.