“I recently received the e-mail that Seastars was celebrating their 20th anniversary and wanted to take a moment to express my gratitude for this program and Robin Heller. My son has an autism diagnosis and I, like many parents, had heard the horror stories of drowning incidences involving children with autism. By the time he was 4, I had been searching for 2 years to find a swim teacher who had the patience and understanding to teach a child with autism. I heard about Seastars from another parent and decided to check them out. My son had basic swimming mechanics down by his 3rd lesson with Robin. By his 10th lesson he was a fish! I could not have been more relieved and proud of him. I am so grateful for Robin, her teaching methods, and determination. He is almost 17 now and everyday he continues to prove he can accomplish things many people or educators thought not possible. Congratulations on 20 years!” 

-Natalie Gr                                                             

Matthew has been swimming on SEASTARS  for over 2 years. He is 13 and on the autism spectrum. He swims team twice a week and has a private lesson with Coach Robin once a week. He is a classified S14 paralympics athlete amd has compteted in 2 USA Swimming meets and participated in special olympics swimming last year. He has been working hard on his strokes and really wants to be legal on his own in breaststroke. We still have a ways to go on that one, but yesterday at swim lessons  he nailed the butterfly! It was beautiful and LEGAL! Really proud of Matthew and his accomplishments in and out of the pool. Keep up that positive attitude, Parra, see you at swim practice tomorrow! 

“My son has been taking lessons with Coach Robin for the past four years on and off. She has been amazing working with him. He is autistic with developmental delays, and we weren’t sure if he would ever get off the stairs of the pool, much less swim. Now she has him swimming all the way in the deep end of pool. SEASTARS has been wonderfully inclusive of him and ALL kids of varying abilities. We can’t express how appreciative we are to have Coach Robin and Sea Stars aquatics right here in our community.”
~parents of Cassidy Christophe~

Jessica started lessons 7/7/15 at the age of 5. She was nonverbal and is on the autism spectrum. She has worked hard and has been on SEASTARS Swim Team for a year an a half and has competed in 25 and 50’s freestyle and backstroke in summer league and USA Swimming meets; with her head out of the water.
Coach Robin has tried for years to have Jessie put her eyes in or introduce Jessie to goggles. Let’s just say, she is not a fan, of either, AT ALL! Tuesday was a HUGE accomplishment for Jessie! For the first time ever she kept goggles on 25 yards, putting her eyes in, and blowing bubbles. My personal favorite is at the end she waits for the prompt to take them off and put them on the wall (usually they last 5 seconds with tears and screams before snatching them off and throwing them across the deck). Way to go, Jessica, keep up the hard work! 

The journey to healing started for Eli when he was born. He survived a large bilateral stroke of unidentified cause. Due to the stroke, he has seizures and Cerebral Palsy. Other areas that were effected are language, balance, sensory, right-sided weakness, motor planning and coordination. Since birth, he’s been in Speech, Occupational, and Physical Therapies. We added Robin at Sea Stars to Eli’s team 6 months ago. He has been taking private weekly 30-minute lessons; this was the missing link in Eli’s journey to healing! Swimming has progressively improved his muscle tone, coordination, balance and confidence. Robin is the perfect balance between push and praise! The video captures a confident, 2-year old boy having fun swimming. But it also highlights countless hours of work from the Eli’s team. We are grateful for the Sea Stars organization and specifically Robin for her passion and dedication for the children!

“The entire program has been amazingly helpful and responsive to any questions or concerns. My granddaughter is 2.5 yrs old and has Downs. Robin has worked wonderfully with her and accomplished a lot in a short period of time.

I can’t recommend this program and the people in it enough!”

– Robert Laverty

Blake started lessons at age 2 February 1st 2017 with Coach Robin. Yesterday unassisted he “jumped” in and got out all by himself for the very first time! Here’s what his momma has to say about lessons:

“I never thought Blake would be able to do some things on his own so soon especially when it came to swimming, that is until he started seeing Robin. She pushes him in a way that is fun for him, while making sure he progresses with every class. She has made him feel safe and secure with his actions which has been a bit of a challenge for him. Every class I go to I am amazed! He goes underwater and swims with very little support and I couldn’t be more proud. We owe it all to Robin, I honestly don’t think there is anyone else that could impact Blake and the other swimmers the way she does. You can tell she loves her students and wants to see them succeed. Go SEASTARS!!”

-Susanna Barnes

Lucas Tracy is 13 and has downs syndrome. He swims on our 4:00 Special Needs team. He has competed in 2 summer league meets and yesterday he nailed his first flip turn! Here’s what Lucas’ Dad, Nathan has to say about their experience with SEASTARS,

“SEASTARS is fantastic! Although Lucas could already “swim”…in less than a year he has learned real swimming technique in freestyle, backstroke and butterfly. His confidence has grown in and out of the water. Thank you Coach Robin and your team for your tireless dedication to this program.” We love having Lucas part of our swimming family! 

“Our son, Christopher started swim lessons with SEASTARS in May 2018 at the age of four. I was hesitant, yet hopeful that he would learn to swim. Well, he got that and more from working with Ms. Marissa. Before swim, it was difficult teaching and getting Christopher to understand risks (walking away, running into the street, etc.), having situational awareness, and asking for help. Through swim he has learned to follow instructions and ask for help. He is aware of his surroundings and understands risks. He is no longer walking away or running towards the street without looking for cars. I shed some happy tears during several lessons (1) hearing him say, “Ms. Marissa I’m swimming” or “Ms. Marissa, I need help”, (2) thinking another child needed help he yelled “Save him”, and (3) expressing an emotion when he was tired after swimming three laps by simply saying, “I don’t like swim.” Ms. Robin thank you for this program, it truly has had a positive impact on Christopher. Ms. Marissa, my dear you are an angel. Thank you being firm and letting Christopher know who was in charge from Day 1. This program showed Christopher how much he can and will be able to learn and do in the future. This family is no longer living in fear of autism. 
Thank you all again for everything. We can’t wait to get Christopher back into swim”.-Shannon

“My son Jake has been a part of SEASTARS special needs swim team for 3 years. Aside from the physical benefits of swimming, such as improving his gross motor skills, strength and endurance, SEASTARS provides a forum for socialization, teaches him to follow instructions, respect authority, and allows him to be part of a team. He has had the opportunity to make lifelong meaningful, respectful friendships. He enjoys a sense of pride and accomplishment when he performs well, and enjoys the recognition for his accomplishments. SEASTARS is truly a place of inclusion, where people with disabilities are pushed to reach their potential by coaches who believe in their abilities. For us, swimming may not be the most important thing We have learned from SEASTARS. We are so proud to be a part of the SEASTARS family.” –

Melanie Wales

Piper started swim lessons with Coach Robin at the age of two. Having down syndrome means Piper has low muscle tone. Our main objective was to strengthen her core. In no time, Piper was walking more and tiring less. She began running and jumping soon after lessons started. 

We had to stop lessons for a while, but Piper is now five, and she’s back. Of the options out there for special needs children, we see we made the right choice again. Piper can be very strong-willed, but Coach Robin doesn’t play! Piper is learning more than swimming. She’s learning to follow instructions, self-confidence and above all, to trust again. 

Thank you, Coach Robin and SEASTARS