Special Needs Swimming


What are Adaptive Swim Lessons?

Adaptive swim lessons are specifically designed for people with mental, physical, or developmental disabilities. They will encourage them to participate in the sport of swimming and facilitate their growth through education and collaboration. I seek to involve people with disabilities rather than provide unique disability-only opportunities.


What is the objective of the course?

My objective is to practice the following:

  • Develop a positive exposure to water adjustment activities
  • Introduce appropriate water safety skills
  • The safe and effective use of flotation devices
  • Introduce supported movement and other skills in the water


What are the lessons like?

Skills are learned step-by-step so that each student can move from one level to another in a comfortable fashion. Safety and confidence in the water are my primary goals! Once I have achieved this I transition my goals for lessons for teaching those with disabilities and this supports confidence building. Sports allows one to grow self-esteem with conquering new skills. Given the opportunity and motivation everyone can share a love for the water. Although this program is not designed to teach people with special needs to become advanced swimmers, we will still learn stroke techniques and more advanced water skills.

As a coach being able to enrich a person’s life is such a powerful and positive force in my life. It is important for me to help empower people with disabilities and show that its possible to have control over their environment and bodies. My good friend James Chaney, who is physically challenged likes to say “character over circumstance.” Please take a moment to watch his inspirational video here.

In addition to contributing to a growing self-esteem and a foundation for learning new skills, teaching people with disabilities allows a vast development of their physical body development. Over the course of my lessons the stages of achievement that are reached through challenging their physical restraints. In turn these challenges are met by new physical abilities that are challenged by water resistance instead of gravity. Aquatic therapy and adaptive swim lessons help change thought patterns.

Currently I give lessons at the Albany Center of Disabilities Services. This pool was designed to cater to the needs of the physically challenged of all those that come to use their facilities, especially the pool. Varying depths ranging from 2 feet to 5 feet, allow my clients to experiment and become comfortable easing themselves at their own discretion to deeper depths. Ramps for transition from land to pool make the pool accessible for those in chairs, and the 90 degree pool temperature keeps one’s body temperature in a comfortable range during a lesson. I am appreciative on the center for sharing their beautiful facility and allowing me to share my knowledge on swimming with my clients with all the benefits of their pool.