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The start of something extraordinary

Hawkes Bay swim teachers up skill in teaching swimmers with disabilities

Eight swim teachers in the Hawkes Bay recently participated in Swimming New Zealand’s Teaching Swimmers with Disabilities Swim Teacher Award course.

The participants hailed from five different swim schools in the Napier and Taupo area, all had different backgrounds; from swim school manager to senior swim teachers to different experiences with teaching people with various disabilities to learn to swim.

Wendy Smith, Education Advisor and course tutor said there was loads of discussion on the course focusing on many different swimmers with disabilities and everyone was happy to share their experiences, both the good and the bad, which was a fantastic learning experience for everybody involved.

There are two pool sessions on the course. The first session involves the swim teachers walking in someone else’s shoes and to feel what it may be like to be in the water with various disabilities. The swim teachers paired up – one with a simulated disability such as vision impairment or a loss of a limb and the other as the assistant. The assistant’s role was to ensure they were both safe in the water at all times and to assist in trying swimming skills in the water.

By simulating different disabilities the swim teachers could really look at different disabilities from another point of view. It allowed them to think about what issues a person with a certain type of disability may have in accessing the pool and what it feels like to move through the water.

In the second pool session of the day we had twelve swimmers with different physical and intellectual disabilities. The swim teachers worked with the swimmers to assess each person’s needs in the water and to identify how to work with the swimmer in the future.

The swim teachers found that they would build rapport and some trust quite quickly with the swimmers and that the swimmer wanted to stay with them and not another teacher. The swim teachers found this to be a real eye opener in working with the children.

It was great to see that after this session three of the children have since booked into learn to swim lessons. The parents of the swimmers also mentioned that it was great to see real children with real disabilities in the pool and to be part of this course.

If you would like to book on a course then contact your Education Advisor here today. This is a great course and assists you with the confidence to think outside the box and ensure that you are meeting your swimmers needs. The next courses coming up are:

Wellington 9 July
New Plymouth 26 July
Matamata 3 August
Invercargill 30 August