Neurodiverse Athlete Guidance for clubs – Grade Days

Neurodiverse Athletes and Grades

Guidance for Clubs

Increasing numbers of neurodiverse athletes are being welcomed into Artistic swimming clubs and many are making great progress in our sport including completing grade assessments.

We understand that the environments for the grade days are not always conducive for neurodiverse swimmers to have a positive outcome in a grade assessment. Therefore as a leadership group and regional teams we would like to support these swimmers in the best way we can. We believe that these swimmers could be supported in a range of ways as listed but not limited to the list below.

  • Accompanying adult around the pool that they feel comfortable with (must be DBS check and is there to support but not coach)
  • Allowance for asking for instructions to be repeated before the figure is undertaken if the swimmer is not clear what they should be doing.
  • Time at each judge to remind themselves of the element being judged and not rushed through.
  • A quiet space to go to before, after or during assessments.
  • Land assessments in a calm space rather than being rushed through.
  • Walk-through of the stations before grading where athletes can ask questions.
  • Neurodiverse swimmers being discretely identified to judges (mark on booklet or visually identified before assessments) so appropriate time can be given to swimmers if not accompanied.
  • National reminders to judges regarding appropriate support and time being given to neurodiverse swimmers.

We want all swimmers to feel supported and any of the support listed above (or additional adaptations) can be supported in the majority of cases. However the grade organizer and the senior judge need to be made aware of the support needed in advance of the grade.

If you have a neurodiverse swimmer who you feel need support please can you ensure that you make contact with the senior judge and grade organiser at the time of entry to the grade day so appropriate organisation can be made.

If unsure if an adaption can be made the senior judge can contact myself to see how we can support the athlete.


Sarah Clarke

Lead for rewards and recognition ASLG

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