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10-year-old Kalani makes a splash

NOODLING AWAY: Young Kalani Kelly can at last enjoy a swim in a pool this summer, with money raised to convert his grandmother's pool to magnesium.
NOODLING AWAY: Young Kalani Kelly can at last enjoy a swim in a pool this summer, with money raised to convert his grandmother's pool to magnesium. Renee Albrecht

FOR MOST of his life, 10-year-old Kalani Kelly has never had the chance to enjoy a swim in the pool on a hot summer's day.

Diagnosed with autism at the age of two, he is hypersensitive to his surroundings, which can cause havoc when exposed to traditionally chlorinated pool water.

"The chemicals in the water would affect his mood, and he would break out in awful rashes,” Kalani's mother Tania Kiara says.

"It was so bad he would have to sit in a small plastic kiddie pool while the others got to splash and play around.”

A recent fundraising effort has changed things for Kalani, allowing him to finally dip his toes into a whole new world.

The pool at his grandmother's house will soon be converted to a magnesium pool, which uses 50% less chloramine irritants in its water.

"It's not just about giving Kalani the chance to learn to swim,” says Gympie Pool World owner Kylie Sheaffe, who will oversee the water conversion.

"When he gets stressed out, the magnesium in the water has a healing effect as well.”

Kalani's mother has seen a noticeable difference in his behaviour when making use of Kylie's pool, which is a magnesium pool.

His turnaround has been so remarkable, Kalani's story is now being used to encourage other pool owners to make the switch themselves.

"It sends a strong message to other families with children with sensitivity issues,” Mrs Kiara says.

"There is a real and genuinely therapeutic benefit to these pools.”

Topics:  autism

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