Help to encourage deaf children to swim

18 June 2012

A new resource is available for swimming teachers, coaches and parents to help teach deaf children to swim. ‘Deaf friendly swimming’ has been launched by The National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS) in partnership with the ASA.

The guide shows swimming coaches, teachers and parents how, through making simple steps, deaf children can be taught to swim. Swimming centres and clubs will receive training, support and resources to help include deaf children in swimming sessions. Download the guide here.

Deafness should not stop children learning how to swim

Carole Barough, ASA National Development Manager, Disability Swimming, said:

"The ASA is working with pools and clubs to ensure that all children and adults have the opportunity to learn to swim, regardless of their ability.  We are also keen to help everyone to continue to swim on a regular basis and maximise their own potential.  We welcome the provision of this resource, which is an excellent tool for teachers, coaches and parents to ensure that deaf and hard of hearing young people are fully supported in accessing swimming sessions".

The resource aims to address excessive concerns about health and safety and a lack of understanding about deafness.  The National Deaf Children's Society have conducted research which reveals that two out of five deaf children have had difficulties accessing swimming pools or classes because of attitudes towards their hearing loss, meaning that they lack confidence in the water and are falling behind other children their age.

Hayley Jarvis, Inclusive Activities Manager at NDCS, said: “Too many deaf children are currently being denied the opportunity to learn swimming – a skill that could be vital in an emergency, as clubs and centres don’t understand how to meet their needs. However, we know these barriers can easily be overcome.

“Deafness should not stop children learning how to swim. By taking simple steps like using hand gestures or visual aids, teachers and coaches can include a deaf child in swimming activities. We are looking forward to working with swimming centres and clubs across the UK to help deaf children enjoy the water safely.”

The NDCS website has additional resources including British Sign Language swimming signs film clips.

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