Gary has autism, issues with his balance plus a fear of water and he has not been near a pool since he was a toddler. But since Rebecca, one of our Your Choice Barnet Support Workers, has got Gary making such a splash at the local lido his confidence has gone through the pool!

It came to Rebecca’s attention that Gary wasn’t accessing her group who go swimming and discovered that he hadn’t been near a pool since he was about three.

Gary’s mum was adamant that he wouldn’t even go near the pool, so it was with much trepidation that Rebecca waited for Gary to attend his first trip to the Lido. He bravely made it to the changing cubicle but could not go in any further.

Gary’s 2nd trip to the Lido. This time, to everyone else’s amazement, Gary got changed of his own accord and stood waiting for the pool to open. He managed to walk into the pool and started splashing around. He couldn’t stop smiling and carried on laughing once the pool session had finished – ‘He was very pleased with himself and so he should be. Even his parents have noticed the difference in Gary and they didn’t believe he would ever get into a pool.” says Rebecca.

“I feel like his mother!” Says Rebecca. ‘But I am excited to carry on working with Gary to achieve his goal to eventually be able to swim.”

Fear of swimming is a big issue – according to the Amateur Swimming Association (2015 stats) up to nine million British people over the age of 14 have never learned to swim. This goes to show the huge step (or stroke even) Gary has made just by getting in to a swimming pool.

It’s also testament to the progress people make at the Flower Lane day service, which supports people on the autism spectrum.