Almost seven years ago, Baltimorean’s Mary and Andrew Ross established Sensory Swim International to teach valuable swimming skills to autistic individuals. As both owners and sole employees of Sensory Swim International, Mary and Andrew lead very busy lives, routinely traveling to offer lifesaving, private swim classes to clients throughout the region. The couple draws from their colorful educational backgrounds to impart indispensable knowledge that may prevent many autistic children and adults from drowning.
Where did you receive your higher education? In what field?
As a special educator, what do you think are the most important issues affecting the youth in today’s society?
“As educators who work with the autism population, we strongly disagree with how other educators are promoting repetition-based learning environments. How are kids supposed to work on handling new situations and environments if we box them in and continue to do the same thing over and over again? We need to start challenging these kids and instead of trying to avoid meltdowns, put them in situations where they can work it out a little bit better every time it happens.”
How does your organization address these issues?
“At Sensory Swim, we offer strictly private swim lessons. Our lessons are all perfectly fitted for each child. We consistently challenge these kids and they consistently pass those challenges with flying colors.”
What motivates you most about your leadership role in the field of special education?
“Everyday, Mary and I get to wake up knowing that we are making a positive impact on children with special needs. Almost 50 percent of children with autism will elope when attracted to water. Our main goal is to equip these kids with the skills to swim. When a parent tells us about one of our students eloping and how they ended up jumping in a neighbor’s pool and then climbing out of it because they knew how…that’s what motivates us to keep doing what we do.”
Keisha Oduor is a professional writer and entrepreneur who resides in Baltimore, Maryland. She has a degree in Communications and French from New York University with work experience in publishing, nonprofits, healthcare administration and program management. Her work can be found on Examiner.com“