What is the difference in swimming for kids who have special needs and those who don’t?
The answer? Because of the great equalizing power of water, everyone can swim!
As far as learning to swim goes, some kids with disabilities do get more out of one-on-one instruction. For example, children along the autism spectrum often react with distress to a range of stimulation such as noise or physical contact. While most kids without disabilities enjoy and excel in group class situations. However, some children from this group also get more from one-on-one instruction. This can be due to self-confidence or learning issues that require instructors to pay special attention or fit the pace of instruction to their child’s pace of comprehension.
But because almost every child loves swimming and water play, they want to learn the skills they need to enjoy these activities – regardless of how the lessons are administered. And because of this common love, children of all types can enjoy the pool together and even help each other become better swimmers.
Benefits for All
By including all children in pool activities, those with disabilities gain lots of confidence, their social skills improve and they feel like they are no different than the other kids. Kids without disabilities become more accepting of differences and understand – on a larger scale – how important it is to include everyone in activities.
Water is the Equalizer
The buoyancy of water makes it easier for children who have skills limitations to enjoy the water alongside skilled swimmers. This makes all-inclusive swimming something that every child can feel good about and function well at. These opportunities also make water safety and drowning prevention training available to kids with special needs who – prior to this experience – have no real concept of the dangers being around water can pose. Learning to swim and being allowed to participate alongside children without disabilities allows these children to also understand water safety.
Parents are often reluctant to allow their children with disabilities to enjoy water activities. The parent may have no idea how to introduce their special needs child to the water or to teach them how to be safe around it. But once learned, these water safety and swimming skills are priceless and can give parents some peace of mind about their special needs child swimming and enjoying the water like children without special needs.
Many swim schools offer mainstream swimming programs and programs for special needs kids so that parents can level the swimming field for their special needs kids .