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Here some suggested organisations that offer expert advice on SN.

has anyone had any success teaching their severely disabled child to swim

(40 Posts)
FioFio Wed 16-Jan-08 18:16:23

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choccybiccy Wed 16-Jan-08 18:25:45

the only method I've ever heard of is the Halliwick method (I googled it and printed off some info!). I haven't tried it yet, but I'm hoping to find out more about it and then give it a whirl with my son.
HTH

yurt1 Wed 16-Jan-08 18:42:51

OMG i was thinking this earlier today (when writing about imitation). The one thing ds1 will not imitate is swimming. He loves the pools and sort of sends his arms and legs out wildly like a mad octopus whilst held up by a float.

There's nothing Hallwick like locally as far as I can see. I didn't get all that far finding out about it. I wonder if there are hallwick type courses....

yurt1 Wed 16-Jan-08 18:43:20

Christie is hallwick trained iirc.

Saker Wed 16-Jan-08 18:54:40

That's interesting that there's a method - I would like ds2 to learn also - especially as he's quite clumsy - he's more likely to fall in than other kids.

There is a disabled swimming club round here but they only get the pool at really awkward times of day (like 5pm on a Sunday) when Ds2 would be too tired to learn much.

Pixel Wed 16-Jan-08 19:52:25

Ds came home from school before christmas with a certificate to say he'd swum a width of the pool without armbands. I was thrilled of course, but also amazed because I've never been able to get him to copy me in the water or understand instructions although he's enjoyed playing about and jumping into my arms etc. I Haven't seen him swim yet but am assuming he's using a kind of doggy paddle. I'll have to ask his teacher if there was any kind of 'method' used or if it was simply having plenty of opportunity to get the hang of it by himself (they have a lovely pool at his school).

Nymphadora Wed 16-Jan-08 20:15:45

Our school has majority of kids (well certainly secondary, primary are still practicing) swimming in some form or other but it seems to be more by lots of practice than anything else. Lots of tales of kids just cracking it one day.

FioFio Thu 17-Jan-08 09:43:51

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Fubsy Thu 17-Jan-08 11:45:07

Most physios working in special schools will have trained in Halliwick swimming. its a good technique, makes a lot of sense.

I did a course years ago in Sunderland. They are held fairly regularly i think, but tend to be aimed at therapists and people like special needs teachers and assistants.

I havent googled it, but Im sure their must be info about the theory somewhere.

Fubsy Thu 17-Jan-08 11:45:20

Most physios working in special schools will have trained in Halliwick swimming. its a good technique, makes a lot of sense.

I did a course years ago in Sunderland. They are held fairly regularly i think, but tend to be aimed at therapists and people like special needs teachers and assistants.

I havent googled it, but Im sure their must be info about the theory somewhere.

Fubsy Thu 17-Jan-08 11:47:42

Try this www.halliwick.org.uk/html/courses/coursetimes.htm

FioFio Thu 17-Jan-08 12:01:04

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Fubsy Thu 17-Jan-08 12:12:29

I dont know what the course are like now, but when I did it they were good fun - they made everyone learn a new skill and gain confidence in the water, whatever our swimming ability was!

needmorecoffee Thu 17-Jan-08 13:15:48

nope. dd sinks like a stone. But then she has no limb movement. I had kinda coped water would trigger some primitive relfexes and get some limb movement.

Blossomhill Thu 17-Jan-08 14:16:08

Hi Fio

Well although my dd isn't severely disabled she does have sn and had 1:1 with a lady that works at a sn's school and teaches all different types of children with sn.
I know she has got lots of children swimming. Maybe ring your local leisure centre. The 1:1's can be quite pricey but we use our dp's to pay for ours!

FioFio Thu 17-Jan-08 14:41:44

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yurt1 Thu 17-Jan-08 14:42:45

fusby - for the halliwick method to work does the child have to be compliant and 'instructable' (for want of a better word). Or can it work if they're pretty determined - at least initially- to do their own thing in the water?

FioFio Thu 17-Jan-08 14:42:51

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Fubsy Thu 17-Jan-08 19:51:43

Yurt - to start with, the instructor would play games in the water with the child upright, like bouncing like a kangaroo or being a train.

The philosophy behind Halliwick is water confidence without swimming aids, as they upset your natural centre of balance. this is especially true of people with conditions like CP, hemiplegia, where you are trying to get them to "balance" in the water without adding extra things for them to control.

After theyre happy with blowing bubbles underwater with the poached eggs (those little "saturn" shaped things you see in the hydro pools!) you could try lying back in the water with support.

The swimmer doesnt have to have a lot of understanding as the instructor guides their body into position.

As far as I know its used with children and adults with all kinds of disabilities and special needs. I used it when i used to work in a school for children with physical difficulties and SLD, but Im sure its used with ASD etc.

I would guess that if your child got fed up with being positioned in the water they could do their own thing for a bit then come back to the activity, as long as they werent out of their depth as they wouldnt have flotation aids on.

I have worked with some children who just werent happy not having aids on, but that was because that was all they had known, so I adapted the technique for them.

Sorry, that wasnt really a good answer was it?

I suppose theres no harm in trying.

Fio, although lots of paed therapists have trained in Halliwick, not all swimming instructors have, even those who claim to work with people with SN.

Ive seen adults swimming at my local pool, and they get squeezed into large rubber rings and left to thrash around, which looks very frustrating. Trouble is, so many people are afraid of physical contact now, and Halliwick is very hands on.

yurt1 Thu 17-Jan-08 20:31:05

THanks Fusby, that's interesting. DS1 is quite happy not having aids and being supported by me, (or anyone really) but he is very averse to me positioning him (won't lie back for example). I've seen him swimming at school and they're very hands on but he tries to stay totally upright in the pool - and resists being put in any sort of sensible swimming position. He doesn't really 'get' instruction iykwim. Hmm will ponder.

Fubsy Thu 17-Jan-08 20:39:36

Yurt - is DS1 skinny - skinny kids actually dont float as well as ones with a bit of fat, especially boys, to do with fat:bone ratio. So trying to float might be harder for him.

Also he might not like the feel of water in his face or in his ears - some children take a lot longer to lie back in the water than to go on their fronts.

FWIW DD swims well, but for a very long time she swam like she was riding a bike hmm and it was really funny reading her lesson reports when they were trying to say she needed to keep her legs together without it sounding like innuendo, as she always kicks with breast stroke kick!

yurt1 Thu 17-Jan-08 20:40:56

Yes very skinnny- & he hates water in his ears- but won't g forwards either. He rides like he's on a bike too!

FioFio Fri 18-Jan-08 08:33:44

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FioFio Fri 18-Jan-08 09:09:50

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Saker Fri 18-Jan-08 13:01:47

That is all interesting, thanks Fusby.

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