Swim class helps boy after autism diagnosis

Published: Jun. 5, 2017 at 2:51 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 5, 2017 at 7:09 PM CDT
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SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - A 9-year-old Shreveport boy is using swimming to lessen the side effects of Autism Spectrum disorder.

"I like to swim," said Luke Smith. "We swim the whole length of the pool."

For several years, he has been swimming using CHRISTUS Swim.

The program is partially funded by donations to Children's Miracle Network Hospitals.

Smith's mom, Amy Kathleen, said the journey to get her son to this point has been long but worth it.

"Whenever he was about 12 months old, we started noticing different things coming about. And through the first couple of years, it was more developmental. Then once we got into the preschool years, it was more cognitive delays."

But there's been progress.

"We've seen a lot of changes over the past year, and I feel like this program has kind of been the icing on the cake for us," Amy Kathleen said. "It's just been so much fun to watch him grow."

For years, she said, her son would not even get near the water. So it took some time to get him comfortable around a pool.

Now you can't keep him away from the water.

Smith's teacher at CHRISTUS Swim, Hollin Spencer, has seen a change in not just the young swimmer's behavior but also his swimming ability.

"I taught Luke a couple of years ago. He came in as a total beginner. And now he's on our swim team. He can swim competitively if he wanted to. He tries really hard."

Amy Kathleen said a lot of the credit for her son's swimming success goes to his teacher.

"It's been so much fun to be able to watch Luke grow working with Hollin. She has done such a phenomenal job with him. It's kind of like she knows how he ticks."

Part of the reason CHRISTUS Athletic Club Shreveport-Bossier can offer youths like Smith these lifesaving skills is because of donations to Children's Miracle Network.

They offer classes on basic swimming techniques as well as advanced classes.

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Sponsored by CHRISTUS Health Shreveport-Bossier, Your Children's Miracle Network Hospital