The Value of Swimming and Learning to Swim for Children Living With Physical and Intellectual Challenges
Every family wants their children to participate in a range of age and ability appropriate activities that will challenge and help them to achieve their potential. Swimming lessons for children are a popular choice of activity for children and adults living with disability as it is one sport that enables a disabled child to fully engage in a sport that easily accommodates the majority of disabilities and those with intellectual or physical challenges.
Overcoming Social Isolation
Children living with disabilities sometimes feel socially isolated as they struggle with not being able to participate in many of the activities that are available to children through clubs and organisations. The properties of water often removes many of the barriers that a child living with disability must cross in order to participate in a sport. Once in the water, with or without special assistance in place, they can often achieve outcomes similar to all children.
This ability to perform helps develop a child's self-esteem and self-confidence. Their disability is no longer a barrier to socialising or 'fitting in'. Whether they join classes that are run as part of the ordinary pool teaching sessions or specially designed classes that meet more complex needs, once in the water, many of the disabilities that exist out of the water, disappear within the water.
Diversifying to Other Sports
Many children living with a physical or intellectual challenge don't participate in sports of any kind. Those who choose to learn to swim find a warm and affirming environment that will gently encourage them to feel safe in water and to become stronger physically. Small groups ensure that they are well supervised and they can build good interpersonal relationships with their instructors and with the other children in their class.
Progression to Land Based Sports
Some children who have taken classes choose to move to other sports for those with disabilities including kayaking and sailing. These activities require a child to know how to swim to safely participate, so a learn to swim class may open the door for a young child to participate in sports they never previously thought possible. These sports may even be land based sports such as snow skiing or basketball.
The increased self confidence achieved through learning to swim, make swimming lessons for children an activity that would benefit every child with a disability and an out of school activity that every parent would find valuable for their child to participate in.
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