The instructors at Patti’s Swim School are specifically trained to teach children with learning differences and special abilities. Our program takes the curriculum that we use for all children and adults and customizes it to the need of the learner. The goal of this program is pool and open water safety. Each lesson is designed to meet the emotional and developmental ability of the learner and to help the learner become physically active, build confidence and learn a lifesaving skill.
We have the same expectations for children of special abilities that we have for all children. We teach using total physical response and limit auditory instruction so that our students are learning through movement.
Creating an effective swimming program for kids with special needs takes a patient understanding of each swimming student as well as a well-thought-out plan. We know that the below stated are critical for teaching individuals with special abilities:
- Individualized attention – private lessons are the key to success.
Swimming is often a new experience and individuals may be hesitant or reluctant to “take the plunge” at first. We are patient, and work with our students at their own speed to get them adapted to being in and moving through the water.
- Be consistent
Our parents are allowed to book ahead so they can have the consistency of an instructor that may best match the needs of the learner. All of our instructors are wonderful.
- Adapt to the needs of each child
Some children may benefit from visual cues as opposed to verbal instructions. Other children may learn better with physical demonstrations. We adapt the lessons to match the ways in which each child learns best.
- Emphasize basic water skills
Before we attempt to teach swimming via traditional strokes, we make sure that each child masters basic water skills like breathing, maneuvering underwater, and flotation.
- Make it fun
Getting into the water for the first time can be a scary experience for many special needs children. We reduce water anxiety by making their experience fun and giving them plenty of praise and encouragement.
- Plan for safety
We make sure that safety is a top priority in your swimming program. Our safety measures include private lessons or having a small lesson size with two children, great leadership and qualified swim instructors.
Teaching kids with special needs to swim is not only a good idea, it’s essential.