Adaptive Aquatics

About Adaptive Aquatics
Our adaptive aquatics program is offered to children with special healthcare needs, ages 3-15 years old. These classes are designed to provide children with special healthcare needs with a positive experience in the water, introduce& teach fundamental aquatic skills, promote water safety, and provide an opportunity for physical activity and social interaction. Please note that this is not a learn-to-swim program, although fundamental swim instruction is incorporated. Instructors combine traditional Red Cross Learn-to-Swim methods with sensory and recreational strategies to match the needs of each child.


Aquatics groups (typically 5 children) are led by 1 instructor with 1 assistant. Children in groups are assigned 1:1 to volunteers for additional safety supervision & attention. Groups are 45 minutes long, one time per week, for a 7 week session. Sessions are offered four times per year: Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall. Parents are not required to swim with children unless a volunteer/staff members are unavailable to do so.


Description of Classes

Children are placed in the most appropriate level to suit their needs and abilities. Class placement is based on a child’s attention span, ability to follow directions in a group setting, and comfort level in the water.


Parent-Child Splash & Swim

An introductory aquatics program for children with special healthcare needs between 1 and 5 years old, designed to:

  • Help child and parent develop comfort in the water
  • Promote child and parent bonding
  • Help parent become more comfortable swimming with and supporting child
  • Provide opportunities for social interaction & fun

An adult over the age of 18, or a parent must accompany the child in the pool.


Blue Group

A group aquatics program designed for:

  • Children requiring individual attention to follow directions and/or physical support
  • Developing personal comfort level in the water & overcoming sensory challenges                         
  • Building & coordinating swim skills
  • Promoting social interactions with peers

Skills will be addressed through sensory, recreational & social activities.


Green Group

A group aquatics program designed for:

  • Children who can enter, exit, & move around the pool independently/with modified independence & comfort
  • Children with attention span greater than 3-5 minutes
  • Building on basic swim skills to refine various strokes                                                                                                        
  • Building social skills & providing an opportunity to socialize with peers                                                                                                                 

Skills will be addressed through swimming drills, recreational, & social activities.


Class Placement

Children should be registered for the correct class based on their age, developmental, and swim level.

GUPPIES: ages 3-7 years old

SHARKS: ages 7-10 years old

DOLPHINS: ages 11-15 years old 



Classes offered in Mountainside are held at:

Children’s Specialized Hospital

150 New Providence Road

Mountainside, NJ 07092

Classes offered in New Brunswick are held at:

Children’s Specialized Hospital

200 Somerset Street

New Brunswick, NJ 08901

Classes offered in Toms River are held at:

Toms River Fitness and Aquatics Center
213 Route 37
Toms River, NJ 08753

About Supported Swim
The supported swim program provides children and youth with disabilities access to a warm water therapy pool and support staff. Children register weekly to swim, play, and have fun! Siblings without special needs are able to register as additional swimmers as space permits. For current schedules and to register online, please click here.

Class Placement

9:30am: ages 5-12 years old

10:15am: ages 12-21 years old



Children’s Specialized Hospital

150 New Providence Road

Mountainside, NJ 07092