Special Needs Children can Enjoy Floating
Dear Mr Phelps,
I wanted to introduce myself and my hero, my son David. I would first like to thank you for your transparency on tough topics that need to be addressed. I admire your courage, and it has inspired mine. I struggled with ADHD and Anxiety as a child and grew up feeling so misunderstood. Like you, I found my inner strength and was able to channel those challenges into something beautiful.
As a child, I found the water to be a therapeutic break from my anxiety and my adverse childhood trauma. Some of my fondest memories of childhood include the water. For some reason, water-related activities were some of the only things that motivated me to remain present. Living in Arizona has made access to water pretty easy until I had my son. My son David was born premature with multiple disabilities, including physical limitations. When he was small, I would just hold him in the water. As he got older, it became more difficult for us to enjoy the water together. I am a single mom, so we don’t often have an extra set of hands to help. He has always loved the water, but it is often less therapeutic and more physical labor. With a typical flotation device, David would either tip forward or slip through it. This left me no other alternative but to carry and hold him in the pool, so that he could enjoy water-play.
A few years ago we found a device called the Float’n Thang®. It allowed David and me the opportunity to engage in water-play together again, and to enjoy making the same memories that I fondly remembered as a child. The inventor, Doug Masi, lives in Arizona and was excited to find his invention unintentionally allowed for children with physical limitations, like my son David, to have access to water play. We immediately began working together to find ways to promote inclusion and access to water play for all children, regardless of their limitations. I know your passion is for water safety through education and swimming and I appreciate your work with the Special Olympics. It has provided my son some incredible experiences. I just wanted to share with you how the Float’n Thang has helped to level the playing field, so to speak, for many who will never learn to swim.
Last year I decided to step out of my special education classroom and be a voice for my son and students, from a platform where I could be more impactful for a greater number of families. I was elected to my local school board. I became a family advocate and have begun a movement called the “Sunshine Project”, promoting inclusive and equitable practices that provide everyone in our communities the opportunity to share their sunshine! I’ve also begun addressing the issues that impact some of our most vulnerable populations in Arizona. Though it sometimes seems like an uphill battle, I wanted to highlight some of the positive ways we have been included in our city. I am hoping to make a video at Ability 360, the facility in Phoenix where the Paralympians train. My son enjoys the water there in an accessible pool, with his device that makes water-play accessible for him. Because of your work with the Special Olympics (and Special Needs Children), mental health, the Michael Phelps Foundation, and your Olympic Medals for swimming, I thought it would be such a highlight to have you engaging in that water play with my son.
I realize you’re a busy man doing a lot of great things for a lot of great organizations. But as a mom, if I could beg you for 20 minutes of your time to surprise my son with meeting you and also capture a video to promote inclusion in our community, as well as highlight those who have figured out one way to help us do just that. Your presence would be so meaningful for the cause.
We are working to promote healthy, active lives, especially for children, primarily by expanding the opportunities for participation in the sport of swimming and water-related activities.
Thank you in advance for your time and consideration. Keep up your inspiring work.
“Changing the world one person at a time!”
Parents of Special Needs Children can request a special 25% off discount code. The Team at Float’nThang want Everyone to Enjoy Floating. Please email your short story to info@FloatnThang.com Be sure to check out video and more details at www.HisKids.Life. We would love to add your story to there.