As we move towards summer, a lot of people talk about heading to the beach, summer-wear and all things outdoors. With the extremely high temperatures during the summer, most people love to go swimming. It is therefore imperative that every child needs to have access to swimming lessons, not only because it’s an excellent form of exercise….. but most importantly for safety purposes. Swimming instructors have reservations when training disabled children and some even turn them away.
To tackle this challenge, we are going to look at some simple and effective tips that one can employ to teach a deaf child how to swim. Firstly, when you are teaching a deaf child to swim you need to speak clearly and avoid mumbling or speaking under your breathe. Most deaf children can read lips, so make sure you are facing them and make eye contact before you begin speaking so that they know you are addressing them. Speaking slowly and clearly will ensure effective communication. When you speak, also make use of sign language and this will make your instructions easily understandable. Learning basic sign language is not as challenging as one might think.
The use of pictures and diagrams to further illustrate your instructions is also crucial. Visual aids attract the child’s attention and they are able to emulate and enact what they see.
Designate special signals for getting the deaf child’s attention. These should be communicated very well so that when you give the signal, the child knows exactly what to do. For example, starting or stopping an activity and a special signal that will be used only in emergency situations. (Try give an example of a sign)
Another tip is to ask the child to repeat instructions and give them an opportunity to ask questions. Everything will run smoothly when everyone understands what action they need to be taking. When the deaf child repeats the given instructions correctly, it gives the instructor the confidence that learning is taking place and this benefits the confidence of the instructor and the child.
Always remember that safety comes first in any situation. Keep an eye on the child and ensure that all safety measures are in place both in and out of the pool to avoid any accidents.
When your child is deaf, teaching them to swim will certainly seem like an overwhelming task. Try to use these tips and see how helpful they are and your child can begin to experience the joy of swimming.