1. HIGH EXPECTATIONS. Expect your student to follow the rules and learn just like everyone else. Do NOT let them mess around and get away with it, however they will need extra help learning and following the rules.
2. SLOW DOWN. Most people with Down syndrome understand what you are saying, it just takes longer for them to process it. Don’t let their poor verbal skills fool you into thinking they are less capable. a. Use simple words and short sentences that are to the point. b. Pause a few seconds between sentences so that they can process what you just said.
3. FOCUS. Don’t overwhelm too many details at once; focus on ONE thing at a time.
4. EMBRACE IT! Don’t underestimate what a difference you can make in your swimmer’s life!
5. TRANSITION TIME. Give plenty of simple verbal cues when you are going to move from one activity to another. You could say, “After we do bubbles we will practice back floats.” “We’re almost done with bubbles, what’s next? Back floats!” “Okay! Time for back floats!” This really helps with transitions (moving from one activity to another.)
6. MOTIVATE. Use their abilities and interests to capture their enthusiasm. If they like to dive for rings, use that as a reward for doing something less desirable. This works for most kids!
7. IDLE HANDS. Kids sitting on the wall will tend to muck about. Have them doing drills while you do open pool work with an individual.
8. FEEDBACK. Give specific feedback. “Hey! You did a great job holding your breath! Well done!”
9. BE CONSISTENT Instructor turnover can be very stressful. Since many kids with special needs thrive with specific, predictable routines, it is essential that instructors be consistent in their teaching times and methods.
10. CREATE SUCCESS. Give them reasons to feel successful. Break down the lesson into easy to accomplish parts and build on them. Celebrate productive effort and calmly redirect them to activities they should be doing when they get distracted.
11. EMPHASIZE BASIC WATER SKILLS. Before attempting to teach swimming traditional strokes, it’s important to make sure that each child masters basic water skills like breathing, maneuvering underwater, and flotation. These skills do not come naturally for many children, which is why a patient, consistent teaching method is best.
12. DEMONSTRATE. Show them what you want. Don’t just tell them. Kids with Down syndrome are usually excellent mimics. They learn by seeing. Show them and say, “Do this, now your turn.”
13. PARENT’S INSIGHT. Talk candidly with his parents. Do not be afraid of asking awkward questions. They’re experts and can tell you a great deal about their children’s needs and strengths.
14. PROGRESS. Approach each session with a specific goal in mind. Think, in two weeks I want my swimmer to be floating on their back. Think about where you want your swimmer to be by the end of the summer. Work towards these goals. If your swimmer is NOT making progress, speak to your Chief Guard and arrange a meeting with the parents as soon as possible so a new approach can be discovered.
MOST IMPORTANT, HAVE FUN!!!
(reposted from www.sbdsa.org_ )
7/22/2019 03:23:26 am
This is very helpful advice. I am teaching 4 year old girl with down syndrome swimming and we have made good progress with water confidence but little.progress with skills. Reading this article helps because I realize that it is okay to push my swimmer a little harder to learn the skills with clear instructions and careful demonstrations. Thanks for posting this article.
12/12/2019 09:50:23 pm
any tips on how to help them learn how to hold their breath/blow bubbles? I recently started teaching a 4 year old girl with down sydrome and she does really well with everything except with knowing when to hold her breath/blow bubbles. her mouth is open a lot of the time and i'm unsure how to go about it.
Hi, this is really late, but...
11/29/2020 07:31:14 pm
This is a greatt blog
9/7/2022 07:47:43 pm
I appreciate what you said about teaching traditional strokes in the beginning. I need to get an instructor for my kids. I want them to be strong swimmers.
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