WAI’s Think Differently project was delivered in 2014, aiming to change attitudes and behaviours of families and service providers to enable people with a learning disability greater access to water-based activities.
Engaging with families as well as participants, we delivered three water competency pool sessions, one community pool session and one beach education session for each of three groups, from: Sir Keith Park Special School, Southern Cross Satellite Class and Pakuranga College’s Pegasus Unit. All participants were aged 15-20 years.
As part of the project we developed a formal set of water safety skills and learning requirements for participants to be safer in and around the water, supported by a range of resources for both families and service providers:
You can download these resources from Related Files on this page.
Pre and post participation surveys and skill assessments highlight some key successes:
“It was a new experience for most and they had fun while learning new skills, also developing the ability to learn off new teachers/instructors.” (Teacher)
It had been identified that persons with a learning disability experience barriers to water-based activities on the basis that they do not have water safety skills, and because people are fearful about their lack of skills. This in turn, removes the ability to develop skills in situations that could be made safe and supports. Families also experienced barriers to aquatic participation within aquatic facilities and open water environments.