Water safety courses expected to help dozens of special needs children

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Some exceptional students are learning a potentially life-saving lesson in one Eastern Carolina county.

Ten autistic children from E.B. Aycock Middle School in Greenville are receiving specialized Physical Education classes, focusing on water safety. The ten-week program has helped some of the kids grow from being afraid to even touch the water to being able to swim entirely on their own.

The classes are led by three Adapted Physical Education teachers who travel from school to school, working with kids enrolled in the Exceptional Children's program.

Teachers tell us the class is all about making kids comfortable in an area surrounded by bodies of water.

"If we can spend some time with them, getting to know the water in a way where they're not scared, they do know that they can be safe," says Michele Mazey. "They do know that they can kick their feet and get somewhere. We want them to learn that it's important to be safe around the water."

The Greenville Aquatics and Fitness Center provided the pool for this class.

More than 40 exceptional students from around Pitt County are expected to complete the water safety course this year.