Swimming is one of the most valuable skills a person can have, giving people not only with the skill but also confidence and a host of health benefits. One Cape Town woman is offering swim lessons for children with autism and other special needs to provide them with opportunities they often lack.
Nabilah Diedericks runs the Finz Aquatics and Fitness Development swimming school. The school is situated in Grassy Park, and has been in existence since 2015, teaching kids as early as six months how to swim. They also teach children with autism and other special needs, using specific methods to provide them with this valuable skill.
Swimming is an incredibly disciplined sport, teaching students hand-eye co-ordination, endurance, muscle strength and provides a great workout. It is also linked to better cognitive function and is a great meditative sport.
Speaking to iOl, Nabilah explains that children with special needs often lack various opportunities because people do not know how to teach them.
“I understood that there was a huge gap in childhood development for children with various special needs and this comes with a lack of opportunities. I believe that sports can change lives and open up doors. I would not be where I am today if were not for sports,” she said.
Children with autism require more attention and patience, so it is important to be able to read signs. Having struggled with learning difficulties as a child, Nabilah is able to put herself in her students shoes.
“Teaching swimming to a child with autism can take considerable time, especially if the child has an aversion to water,” they explain via their official website. “The initial step is observation and evaluation, followed by a plan of action. The plan should be broken down into small, achievable steps. Each child is different so it is critical to create a system specific to the child you are working with.”