Flotation aids give children the ability to gain confidence and develop independence in the water. Maintaining head control when in a horizontal position gives children the ability to develop this skill in the water which can then be transferred to the classroom. The flotation aids give children the freedom to move independently developing arm and leg strength and the ability to propel themselves forward coordinating their body in the water.
Being in an upright position is beneficial to all children, our bodies are designed to be upright and this position often supports children not only with their physical development but also their digestive system. Whilst an upright position can be gained in the classroom with supporting equipment, the swimming pool and the buoyance of water gives the extra support needed to gain this position with less equipment for the child giving them the increased sense of freedom and independence. The Aquatic Sausage is used to support under the child's arms. Using the adult as a backward prompt and the pool platform as a support for her feet she is gaining an awareness of weight bearing through her feet and maintaining an upright position.
We encouraged all children to be independent to their best possible ability and encouraging this through physical development gives the children different experiences to gain an understanding of their body. For many of our children body awareness and knowing where our limbs are and how to use them is a skill that needs to be taught through different experiences. Using small weighted ankle straps supports our children to be in an upright position. The pool platform then gives children the ability to rest their feet but also weight bear to the best of their ability. Giving children this experience is giving them increased awareness and encouraging the skill of standing and walking in the pool which can then be transferred to the classroom.
Swimming and movement in the water supports the children to enhance postural stability and strengthen muscles. The Floating Gait Trainer supports children to stand, walk and weight bear when in the water. Using the Floating Gait Trainer along with the buoyancy of water gives significant support to encourage greater independent skills which we cannot gain in the classroom.
Some children often require a variety of equipment to support their postural management and physical needs when in the classroom, therefore having a different experience in the swimming pool is essential. Independence and freedom is an experience that is fundamental to our children’s development, giving them a sense of pride and confidence.
Using the Chailey Head Support gives children the freedom of movement made possible by water. Floating in the water with the head support gives children the ability to move as they wish in a position that is comfortable for them. The children often feel very proud to be achieving something independently which also develops communication, eye contact, self-confidence and body awareness.