Karen: Do you think swimming or aquatic therapy is appropriate for my special needs kid?
SwimteamAnswerman: Absolutely, positively without equivocation. In general, the swimming community is the most supportive group of families we have come across in the 17 years that we have been involved with kids sports in Fairfax County. The Special needs volunteers are as you can imagine...outstanding human beings. Your child does not need to be involved in competitive Special Olympics programs to physically and mentally benefit from aquatic training. For some reason, water has a special power, it is almost spiritual. It has a calming effect on children when they are introduced to it in the right way.
The following information was taken directly from Fairfax County park web page on Adaptive Aquatics: Click here to view.
"The Park Authority's award-winning Adapted Aquatics is an individualized swimming and water activity program for customers with physical and developmental disabilities. This success-oriented program targets individuals who do not currently meet the prerequisites for participating in an inclusive environment. The program is designed to develop basic swim skills in a structured setting with one-on-one support from trained volunteers.
Students may register for:
- Adapted Aquatics Group Classes – These courses are conducted by American Red Cross certified Adapted Aquatics Instructors and trained volunteers.
- Small group lessons (one to four students) – These lessons are offered at all RECenter pools. Flexible scheduling is available. Classes can also be arranged for school groups and group homes. Call 703-324-8565 for more information.
Please note that family members may be requested to assist in the water if volunteers are not available."
Also available are Special Olympic prep programs for developmentally delayed youth who want to participate in swimming competitions. These swim meets are awesome and encouraging. Check out what the county currently has available HERE.
Here is the main Aquatics Specialty page: Swim now!
As you can see from these photos, children can be aclimated to the water at an early age, special needs or not. Think about it, they just came from a very liquid environment...in our experience the most difficult part of swimming for kids of any age is getting used to breathing and having their face in the water. The earlier they accomplish that the easier learning all the strokes will be.
I started a blog for parents who are new to community swim team programs. You can check it out at:
SwimTeamAnswerman.com. Humor will occasionally be attempted ...no real estate mentioned. Go get wet!
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