Swimming has many great benefits for children of all ages.
On a previous blog we discussed the overall emotional, physical, and mental advantages of learning how to swim.
In this blog we will go over how beneficial it is for children with special needs to learn how to swim when they are young.
Swimming is seen as both a therapeutic and a competitive sport. Strengthening all limbs in your body, swimming can bring a totally new sensation to your core.
Children who live with special needs are highly at risk of injury or death when it comes to large bodies of water, which is why it is very important that they learn how to swim and the correct techniques.
Swimming is particularly valuable for children with disabilities because the water allows them to move without assistance, being able to move without assistance in the water is an extremely important discovery.
This creates an amazing self start activity for both children and adults with disabilities. The main benefits swimming has to offer for children with special needs are:
Boosting physical activity levels
For children of any ability level, the pool is a relaxing environment to exercise their bodies. While kicking and stroking in the water, each move that is done helps to build strength.
For children with disabilities, the process of learning to swim has been proven to help with coordination, balance and developmental motor skills.
While in the water, children are learning how to coordinate different motions in order to accomplish a physical goal.
Swimming and being inside of a pool for children who have moving restrictions can improve their range of motion.
In the water, buoyancy, or the ability to float or rise in a fluid, can reduce the child’s body weight up to 80% which provides the perfect environment for less restrictive movement.
Improving self confidence
Most children with special needs experience a lack of confidence growing up.
The average child can use the restroom, walk around a restaurant or play on the playground without experiencing any challenges or difficulty.
It can be very discouraging for a child that struggles with “simple” activities to see their peers complete these tasks easily.
Special needs children who are afflicted with physical limitations often experience more daily frustration than the average child.
One of the main goals during a swim lesson tailored for children with special needs is to develop self confidence and to build their self esteem.
Many children will experience a huge sense of self achievement when learning to swim because they are learning and discovering new boundaries.
During private swim lessons, each lesson is customized to meet your child’s emotional and physical capabilities.
As your child’s confidence level increases, they will feel more comfortable around their peers and better equipped to deal with situations that can be stressful or challenging.
Maintaining a healthy weight
Depending on what the disability is, exercise may be more difficult for a child suffering from physical limitations.
Most children are usually pretty active and are full of energy. This may not always be the case when dealing with children who have special needs.
Children with disabilities face a 38% higher rate of becoming obese than the average child faces. Swimming burns many calories, thus, making it a terrific physical activity that works to prevent obesity.
When swimming your limbs and spine expand, which relieves painful pressure. Water provides 15 times more resistance than air, building muscles.
This is because when you swim, your body is pushing and pulling against the water, which builds endurance.
If your child suffers from any type of chronic pain, swimming and spending more time in the pool is an excellent choice of treatment/therapy.
Pain is an expression of “perceived danger” to our bodies. Pools are one of the rare places where we can feel safe while being active.
Teaching swimming to children with disabilities is important. Before jumping into lessons, remember that patience is essential in any “learn to swim” program.
It is important that you make sure your child is relaxed and that they feel comfortable in the water.
During private swim lessons, our instructors make sure that your child has a basic understanding leading up to each stroke.
Basic techniques include moving about on the surface, floating, blowing bubbles and holding their breath underwater.
Special needs children tend to be reluctant or hesitant when getting in the water.
Being in the water might be more difficult at first for your child if they have weakened muscles or poor balance. Children with special needs work to overcome many obstacles everyday.
The water experience for a child with special needs is educational, exciting and fulfilling. Overall, swimming helps children with disabilities feel more independent, increases their physical strength and stamina while also being a great mental health exercise.