Swimming and swim lessons can be a great opportunity for children to learn and we consider it an important life skill and an activity that many children enjoy. However, we also understand that this can also be a time of great anxiety for some children/young people with a disability or developmental difficulty and parents alike.Here in shoreline leisure Greystones we hope to be able to deliver a good experience to all who visit our centre. We know it is important to remember that every child will react differently to swimming lessons or a swim and the support they need will also be different. For many, swimming will be an enjoyable experience.
Shoreline Leisure Greystones have developed a swim aid which includes a social story to familiarise yourself with our centres’ pool and to address the common difficulties that children face when they start swimming and suggestions to prepare your child to go swimming in Shoreline Leisure Greystones. We hope that these will help you and your child feel more confident when visiting our centre or taking part in our lessons. You as a parent/guardian know your child better than anyone else, but here are some common difficulties we have found that children with developmental difficulties experience when they go to swimming pools.
Things your child might find difficult:
- A change in their routine/ school routine and a new environment.
- As a busy centre, noise can be an impact both inside the pool and the rest of the centre
- Being splashed in the pool.
- The temperature of the pool : being hot and steamy/colder than they anticipated
- Being close to other children and/or being touched by other children in the pool.
- Being scared of the water.
- Having to change clothes in a new environment.
How to prepare your child for coming to our centre:
It might help your child to visit the pool with you first, even to just walk around the pool or to practice changing in the changing room. We also have supplied a social story aid with visual aids to help prepare before and during your visit. We also have ‘virtual tour’ of the building which you visit the centre before you visit (please refer to our social story for this).
We encourage you to engage with us before/during your visit to our centre to discuss how we can help your visit and for you both to be at more at ease and to help prepare your child for their specific techniques during their lesson or general swim. If you are coming with a school as you school to get involved with preparing your child i.e. adding swimming lessons to a school schedule or creating a calendar, or using swim specific pec cards. They could also help the swimming teacher create a bespoke schedule for your child in the pool.
Unexpected change in swim routine:
Be prepared in preparing your child for disappointment. We may at times need to shut for a few hours or a day, which may be out of our control. If you are able to arrange an alternative activity in case the pool is closed, this may help them feel less distressed if the situation arises.
We are here for you:
Children can surprise you. You might think your child will hate swimming but sometimes it can be our own hesitation or anxieties holding children back so we would encourage you to let us help.Let your child know what to expect and what will be expected of them via our social story, which you can tailor to fit your needs.