OUR Story


The Panther Academy for Water Safety was founded in April of 2019 with the vision of promoting inclusive, age-appropriate and evidence-based learn-to-swim and water safety instruction to individuals with and without Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and other developmental disabilities. By integrating high-level teaching practice and community outreach, we strive to deliver excellent programs for all children regardless of individual need.

The first session of PAWS opened in the summer of 2019 with 24 children registered. The program has grown exponentially since then with almost 100 children and adults registering for private and adaptive private lessons per session.

Our program strives to provide the best possible instruction for all children and adults that meets the unique and individual needs of each swimmer. We accomplish this through professional development in collaboration with professionals in the field of occupational therapy, physical therapy, and speech-language pathology. We are centered around providing one-on-one instruction so children can learn at their own pace and this helps build trust between instructor and child. We focus on building meaningful relationships between instructor, child, and family in order to optimize a child’s success.

Our vision is to provide high quality and socially equitable opportunities for all children, with and without developmental disabilities, within learn-to-swim and water safety skills programming to children, adults, and families in the Cedar Valley. We have reached almost 400 children in our local communities and will continue our outreach efforts to serve many more!