Nordic Baby Swim Conference 2016
From 4th to 6th November 2016, MoovSwim headed to Stockholm, Sweden, for the biannually held Nordic Baby Swim Conference! There were swim instructors and swim schools from all over the world who participated. Speakers from the US, Australia, Sweden, Denmark and Mexico came to share their findings and practices. It was informative and interactive, and certainly insightful.
I will be sharing some of the insights I have gained from the conference in the upcoming posts. This first post is on special needs by Erin Seal Grande.
Swimming for Children with Special Needs
Erin Seal Grande has 20 years of coaching experience, and her specialisation is on children with special needs, or what she calls “special abilities”. She talked about the problems faced by both swimming coaches and children in the quest to do swimming. A lot of the time, people do not believe that children with special abilities are able to swim. Many caregivers and parents give up along the way, citing expensive lessons with no obvious goal.
Erin emphasised the need for repetition of each task during swim class, and consistency of class attendance. These children are able to do well, only if parents have set certain expectations of them. Children with special needs are able to achieve if we believe that they can. Another key point to take note is that children with special abilities do require a quiet space, so that they will not be overwhelmed by other children in the pool. Drowning is the number one killer of children with special needs, and it is important to instill the sense of water safety and awareness in them. She showed us a video of a girl with cerebral palsy who was able to keep afloat after a year of intensive lessons! That, to me, was not only inspiring, but definitely heart warming to watch.
This struck a chord in me, as I have been coaching children with various special needs for quite some time. The journey to independent swimming may be a difficult one, but with persistence and encouragement, our little ones can definitely achieve this.