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Swimming with Disabled Children

Swimming with Disabled Children
12 March 2015 2344 Views No comments

Most children enjoy being in the swimming pool, while the exercise has a number of benefits, which means that it is a great exercise whether your child is disabled or able-bodied. It is a non-competitive sport that allows children to learn and develop at their own pace while also having fun.

If your child has a physical disability, they are still able to enjoy being in the water, so long as the proper precautions are taken. This will allow them to benefit from all that regular swimming has to offer and can also build their confidence.

What are the benefits?

Swimming helps all children to build muscle tone and strengthen their limbs. It can also help with the development of overall health and fitness, as well as fine motor skills.

Water is also incredibly beneficial when it comes to easing pressure on joints, which can reduce pain. This is because of the buoyancy of water, which helps to reduce everyone's body weight, allowing them to move with more freedom. If your child finds it difficult or painful to move certain limbs, they may find that the water eases this.

As well as this, swimming can be a fantastic social activity that can get your little one interacting with more people, whether you go to a scheduled lesson or just head to the pool for a bit of fun.

You can play games with them to further help the development of movement, as well as improving their concentration and coordination. You can also use the water for sensory activities, which can help your child get used to the environment and have more fun.

What should I be aware of?

If your child requires specific access to the pool or changing facilities, you will need to check that the pool can provide this beforehand. Not all swimming pools have suitable facilities, which means they may not be right for your child.

It is also worth checking whether the pool offers additional support to disabled swimmers, as this can be incredibly helpful if you are taking them on your own. This could include help getting them in and out of the water. Not all swimming pools will offer this, and some may require prior notice that you will need extra help.

You should also check what times you are able to use the pool. If you are not attending a scheduled lesson, you'll need to be aware of what times other sessions are taking place, as it could mean that the pool is not available to the public. This will save disappointment or you having to wait around until the pool is free, which can be frustrating for children.

What should I do when we're in the water?

The most important thing to remember once you're in the water is to reward and praise your child for things they can do, rather than focusing on what they're not able to do. This will help them to enjoy the water more and encourage them to do more. Being positive is the best way forward and will ensure that everyone enjoys a trip to the pool.

You also need to be realistic with any goals you set. Start off small so as not to push them too hard straight away. You can increase goals and make them a bit harder as your child develops their swimming ability. However, setting the goal too high to start will only serve to make them feel like they aren't doing good enough.

Use any aids that are available to help your child. The swimming pool may have floats that can help support them and enable them to get used to being in the water. Increasing their buoyancy – such as with the Original Konfidence Jacket – could also help them get used to the water and support them when they are swimming.

Every achievement is worth praise, so ensure that even small successes are celebrated. This will help your child to enjoy themselves and make the whole experience more fun for all involved.