Raising special needs kids comes with its own unique set of challenges and questions. And as parents know, the upbringing of a special needs child is also uniquely rewarding. At Survival Swim, we understand the questions you might have around whether swimming lessons are a good idea for your non-neurotypical or mobility-challenged child. And to that, we say in most cases, the answer is an enthusiastic YES!
Swimming Lessons are for Everyone
Swimming is a survival skill that everyone needs to learn, regardless of physical or developmental challenges. It is important to teach special needs children to swim simply because it is important to teach anyone to swim!
That said, special needs children benefit therapeutically in swimming lessons, often beyond what other children experience.
“In my experience, I have seen our special needs students light up in a different way when they learn to swim,” says Jaime Clarke, owner and instructor of Survival Swim. “They love and respect the water, and it’s almost like they feel a sense of relief. It calms them in new ways. They often want to stay in the water when their lesson is over!”
Using Personalized Approach for Every Student
Because of our individual and small-group teaching format, Survival Swim is uniquely qualified to teach children with special needs how to swim. “Our teachers take a student-centered approach,” says Clarke. “Depending on your child’s age, swimming ability level, and physical and emotional needs, we can create a lesson plan and learning environment that best suits your child.”
Survival Swim teachers determine the best approach for teaching special needs students with a focus on water safety and survival. They can accommodate almost any child’s unique needs, and have successfully worked with students who have down syndrome, autism, dyslexia, processing disorders, ADD, bipolar, oppositional defiant disorder, multiple sclerosis, chronic asthma, and epilepsy.
When to Start Swimming Lessons for Your Special Need Child
“Our philosophy at Survival Swim is that it’s never too early to start teaching a child how to swim,” says Clarke. “Babies are born from water, and being in the water is natural and comforting for infants. That’s why we take students as young as six months old, including those who have special physical or emotional needs.”
But it’s also never too late to start, either! Survival Swim can build life-saving water safety and swimming skills for anyone regardless of age, ability level, or needs.
How Parents Can Help
Parents of special needs children are a special kind of amazing. They’re typically right there, up front, asking how they can help out. “The best thing you can do for your child’s swimming lessons is committing to the process and staying positive, even through the challenges,” says Clarke.
By committing to multiple, regular, and consistent lessons, you’ll help your child gain confidence and comfort in the water. And while special needs parents are accustomed to helping out with all aspects of raising their kids, one of the most crucial things you can do as a parent is to trust your swimming instructor. Clarke says, “Our swimming instructors are highly trained professionals who know how to tackle tough situations in the water and deliver positive results. Rough sessions are bound to happen with any student. The best thing you can do as a parent is to offer support and encouragement, point out the progress your child is making, and encourage them to keep trying.”
Ready to Start?
If you’re in the Phoenix Metro area and have an infant, child, or adult in your care with special needs, now is the time to get them enrolled in Survival Swim lessons. Our highly qualified mobile instructors can come to your home or public pool to give lessons, or you can travel to our home pool in Avondale, Arizona. We offer individual instruction as well as small group lessons, and we can help guide your decision on which format would best suit your learner’s needs. We teach with compassion and patience, and all of our instructors have the training, knowledge, and experience to accommodate any of our student’s unique needs.
Contact us today to discuss swimming lessons for your special needs child.