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How Swimming Lessons Benefit Kids With Disabilities or Learning Disorders

Posted in Benefits of Swim Lessons, Parenting Ideas, Child Development

We have been blessed with beautiful indoor swim schools. We are committed to offering a swim experience to students with special needs. We are not therapists, nor are we specially trained to work with children with special needs. We are simply offering the opportunity to enjoy the excitement of the water and the freedom it allows to children who have difficulty with motion or expression in varying forms. That being said, we have seen amazing success and accomplishments with many of our special needs students.

Facing Obstacles, Feeling Companionship

Children who are afflicted with physical limitations often encounter far more daily frustrations than those without. Maneuvering around a restaurant, using a restroom or playing on a playground can all pose challenges, and it can be especially disheartening for a child to struggle with “normal” activities while watching their peers handle them with ease. But being in the pool can somewhat level the playing field. When swimming, physically healthy kids are facing new challenges and learning new skills. The same is true for those who are disabled swimming.

Being in the water might be more difficult for someone with a disability, sometimes due to weakened muscles or poor balance. But these children will be working to overcome obstacles, just as their peers are working to overcome the obstacles that accompany learning swimming skills. This gives them an opportunity to feel equal among their peers. And, they sometimes experience less physical resistance in the water than they do on land – so the pool can become a welcome, safe haven for them.

Individualized Attention

When it comes to a lot of team sports, disabled children are often left at a disadvantage. If they can’t play at the same level as the other kids, they might not be allowed to join the same leagues. With swimming, children of all abilities including disabled children are warmly invited to participate. Swimming lessons are generally structured to follow a baseline curriculum, but instructors are trained to teach each child as an individual.

Whether it’s a parent/toddler class, or a class in which there’s one teacher for a handful of kids, swim instructors know how to customize lessons to help each child progress on their own terms. This means that a little one with a learning disability might be taught a sequence of skills more slowly, or with a more visual approach, if that’s what will help them master the skills. Or a child with a physical disability might learn to backstroke before learning to roll over, if their body is better suited for that type of movement. Parents can rest assured that each child will be given one-on-one attention and instructions, based on their particular needs and abilities.

Confidence is Key

Some parents worry that disabled swimming lessons might hurt their child’s self-esteem if they don’t experience success as quickly as other kids. But when any child learns to swim, they tend to feel success in every small milestone. Swimming for disabled little ones isn’t any different. With every small skill they master, they can feel a sense of accomplishment. And in the water, progress is highly visible. As their confidence increases, they’ll feel more comfortable around their peers and more equipped to deal with stressful or challenging situations.

So if you have a child with a physical disability or learning disorder, don’t rule out swimming lessons. You might be pleasantly surprised by how much your little one takes to the water, and all the incredible skills they can gain in the process. Contact us today or stop by one of our locations.