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Western Journal of Nursing Research

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The purpose of this mixed methods pre-/post-pilot intervention study was to assess parental psychological health and child challenging behaviors before and after a swimming program for children with autism. Participants were 10 parent–child dyads. Child’s challenging behaviors were lower in the post testing (Cohen’s d = 0.07–0.45). Mean scores were improved for parent perception of general health (Cohen’s d = 0.22). Three themes emerged from the post swim program focus group: (a) Parent satisfaction with instructors with sub themes (i) firmness (ii) creativity, and (iii) promotion of social interaction and sharing, (b) improved child sleeping, and (c) family dynamics with sub themes (i) siblings wanted to swim and (ii) parents’ fear of drowning. Preliminary results point to improved child behaviors and parent perception of general health. Future studies can focus on expanding the swim program to include all family members.


Accepted version. Western Journal of Nursing Research, Vol. 43, No. 4 (April 2021): 356-363. DOI. © 2021 SAGE Publications. Used with permission.

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