Erika Gleeson

Queenscliff, New South Wales

Senior behavioural specialist, social innovator

Drowning is the leading cause of death for children with autism. With far less ability to perceive danger and a tendency to gravitate to water, children with autism are 160 times more likely to drown than their peers. To overcome this, Erika founded Autism Swim – a social enterprise that trains and certifies aquatic professionals to teach people with autism swimming, water safety and water therapy. It also provides resources on how to recognise when someone with autism is at risk around water. By expanding her program and diversifying services, Erika aims to give more Australians the opportunity to be safe and happy and around the water.