Swimming has so many therapeutic benefits for all kids including those with sensory processing disorders, cerebral palsy, congenital diagnoses, and even the typically functioning.
Swimming is multi-sensory experience for the whole body including:
- Proprioceptive input: This involves the input of the muscle and bones and their relation to another. The continuous sensation of water all over the body assists in increasing body awareness. The weight of the water can provide a calming experience.
- Vestibular input: Just a few hand stands, somersaults, and jumps into the pool can quickly satisfy vestibular input!
- Auditory processing: This involves all of the sounds of the pool environment such as splashes of water, laughter, yells, and music at the pool.
Swimming also helps with gross motor skills such as strength, endurance, and coordination. We all know how tiring swimming can get! Constant movement and the resistance of the water can help increase strength and endurance. Swimming takes skills. Actually performing swimming strokes takes great coordination. AND of course, swimming is great for heart and lung health!
The buoyancy of water can assist patients to learn to walk as it slows movement and takes gravity out of the picture allowing patients with physical disabilities to move in ways they typically cannot.
Did you know that a day at the pool can even increase oral motor skills?! Blowing bubbles and and using water whistles can increase oral motor strength.
Add in pool toys to enhance coordination and play skills! Bring your kids friends and encourage them to meet new friends at the pool to increase socialization and play skills.
Always remember safety and teach your kids about following rules and listening to the lifeguard. Don't forget the sunscreen and hats! Have fun!