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Supported swimming lessons go Shire wide

By David Porter

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Thousands of children across the area benefit from Live Life Aberdeenshire's Learn to Swim programme every year.

Now classes have been introduced specifically for ASN pupils, offering an opportunity many have never had access to.

Classes have been running at swimming pools in Turriff and Stonehaven, where they have proved very popular with both the young people and their parents and carers.

Swim instructors and pool staff noticed increasing requests for one-to-one or two-to-one lessons and identified the potential for standalone ASN classes.

As well as making the best use of resources, they also provide the chance for group learning in a quieter environment, as individual lessons are often delivered within a public setting, which can be difficult for children who experience difficulties with social communication and interaction.

Following positive feedback from parents and carers, some suggested that the use of Makaton signing could benefit children even more, so staff linked in with the NHS, who provided training resources.

Though not all swim instructors are trained to sign, it has had a huge impact on a number of children taking part.

Participants, their parents and carers and swimming instructors were all asked for their views on the new classes.

One parent said: "Had it not been for these ASN classes our kids simply would not have had the opportunity to learn to swim - thank you."

Others said: "He has never been keen on swimming lessons, but this format really seems to work - he doesn't feel different, he's just one of a bunch of kids learning to swim."

"I can't overstate what a difference this session has made to his life and ours.

"It's been a hugely rewarding thing to see what the group has achieved."

"We've never experienced such inclusivity before, I'm not sure if you understand just how strange and wonderful that felt."

If you think your child or a young person you know could benefit from dedicated classes catering for Additional Support Needs, please get in touch with your local Live Life Aberdeenshire swimming pool.

See the Live Life Aberdeenshire website at: https://www.livelifeaberdeenshire.org.uk/ where a video on the sessions produced at Turriff pool is available to view.

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