Friday, 8 January 2016

Support for enjoyment and safety of the beach and other water activities

We are so lucky to have a beautiful climate, the best beaches, and lots of opportunities for swimming and other water activities. Many people with Down syndrome love the beach and other swimming activities just like anyone else, and need little or no support to stay safe. Others need a bit of support to develop skills and confidence, and some need much more. 

In addition to community swimming and water safety activities that might be your first port of call, here are some places to try that aim to help you make the most of summer (and much of autumn and spring, or all year round), whatever support you or your child might need ...


Little Heroes Swim Academy is based in Sydney's eastern suburbs, offering classes and other activities in a number of locations there, and at Putney (Ryde). They are very experienced in teaching people with all kinds of disabilities, and include a program to 'bring the beach to people with disabilities because everyone has a right to be included'.
Rainbow Club - fifteen clubs in NSW provide swimming lessons for children with a disability. They operate during the four school terms.
Down Syndrome Swimming Australia - 'DSSA encourages individuals with Down syndrome to actively participate in the great sport of swimming at all levels of competency. Our aim is to give people with Down syndrome the opportunity to swim competitively against other athletes and to provide a pathway to local, national and international competition.' DSSA has selected a team to compete in the World Trimsome Games in Florence, Italy in 2016.
Disabled Surfers Association of Australia 'is uniquely Australian having ambitions to go global, whilst setting world’s best practice for the sport of Disabled Surfing. Initially set up for injured surfers, within a short time the DSA had dramatically widened its target group to cater for all disabilities that is anyone willing to have a go.' The website and Facbook page have the best photos!
Sailors with Disabilities 'provides free sailing and training programs for people with a disability, disadvantaged children and adults, and their carers.'
Special Olympics Australia offers recreational and competitive Aquatics programs. You need to check into your local region's page on the website to see what activities are available. Some regions have their own Facebook pages.
Swimming Australia 'recognises the great potential for people with disability to participate in all aspects of the sport and we have been committed for many years to making inclusion simply part of what we do. Swimming Australia believes in taking a social approach to disability inclusion by putting the swimmer first, adapting to individual need and addressing both physical and attitudinal barriers to participation.' Links to State associations, clubs, classification, competitions and other disability/swimming organisations.

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