Children with disabilities encouraged to learn to swim

PARENTS in Argyll and Bute are being encouraged to send children with disabilities to swimming lessons as it is a life skill.

Scottish Swimming has launched its #SeeMyAbility campaign to get parents to talk more openly about their child’s disability and encourage them to put their children into mainstream swimming classes.

Scottish Swimming and Scottish Water – who are partners in Learn to Swim – provide a progressive pathway for children with physical, sensory and learning impairments.

The programme is delivered by aquatic providers across Scotland and locally at LiveArgyll.The Inclusion campaign was launched by Learn to Swim ambassador and multi-medal winning para-athlete Toni Shaw who came through a mainstream Learn to Swim programme before joining swimming club Cults Otters.

Paul Wilson, Disability Performance Development Manager, Scottish Swimming said: “Scottish Swimming’s vision is ‘everyone can swim’ and learning to swim is an activity for all regardless of ability or disability, and the whole swimming pathway can be taught in an inclusive way.

“Swimming is an important life skill and can be great fun in a group environment. This should be no different for a child with a disability.”

Brian Lironi, Director of Corporate Affairs, Scottish Water, said: “Children with disabilities should have the same opportunities in their lessons, as swimming can offer so much and is an important life skill.

“As we aim to roll the Learn to Swim programme out to 100,000 children across Scotland, we’re making sure that we’re offering inclusive opportunities for all children to become safe and competent in and around water.”

As part of the campaign, swimming teachers and coaches will be provided with a resource toolkit that will help them teach and coach in an inclusive way throughout the whole aquatic pathway from Learn to Swim through to clubs and at the performance level.

Kevin Anderson, General Manager at LiveArgyll, said: “We teach all children in an inclusive way at Live Argyll and it is great to get these additional resources to support our swimming teachers as we continue to grow our programme.”

LiveArgyll delivers the Learn to Swim programme at four pools in the area, teaching children from birth upwards.

Toni said: “I’m really proud to be an ambassador for the Learn to Swim Framework and really pleased that children with a disability are taught in inclusive learn to swim environments. If there’s someone with a disability and the swimming teachers are aware of the impairment the lessons can be adapted.

“It’s great to develop as a swimmer and be seen beyond my disability. This has helped me integrate into a performance environment where I get to train alongside other world-class athletes.”

Scottish Swimming continue to work in partnership with Scottish Disability Sport to provide opportunities along the full aquatic pathway.

Gavin MacLeod, CEO at Scottish Disability Sport, said: “Scottish Swimming is a great example of a sport’s governing body that is committed to and actively delivering their sport in an inclusive way and this is particularly prominent with their work around the Learn to Swim Framework and engagement with local partners.”

The National Learn to Swim Framework aims to raise standards and achieve consistency in swimming programmes across Scotland.

More information on the National Learn to Swim Framework and #SeeMyAbility can be found on the dedicated website:

Scottish Water’s partnership with Scottish Swimming to promote the Learn to Swim programme, which aims to help 100,000 children across the country become confident swimmers.

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