Sport and recreation make an important contribution to the health and wellbeing of all people, particularly people with disabilities. However, due to physical and attitudinal barriers, people with disabilities often find it challenging to make these activities a part of their life.
Thankfully, aquatic activites offer a range of experiences and opportunities for people with disabilities that other sporting activities do not.
- Relaxing in a stress-free, weightless environment
- Meeting and interacting with others in a non-threatening environment
- Exploring and experiencing new and different movement
- Developing confidence
Case Study – TASMANIA
Making Aquatics a Terrific Experience
Royal Life Saving Society – Tasmania is now offering MATE, the Making Aquatics a Terrific Experience AUSTSWIM program. MATE is an innovative and interactive community seminar aimed at optimising health and wellness opportunities for those with a disability.
The program gives carers the skills and knowledge to take those in their care to the pool for recreation activities. MATE is not a program about swimming strokes but rather a guide to encouraging and facilitating physical activity for people with disabilities to participate in aquatic activities.
"Funding from the Tasmanian Community Fund will enable us to provide this program to unpaid carers at low cost around the State," said General Manager of Royal Life Saving Society – Tasmania. "Once carers feel confident taking their MATE to the pool, they too can have a relaxing and enjoyable experience," she said.
The program is suitable for many disabilities, including intellectual disabilities, those in a wheelchair, stroke victims and people with autism, and offers comprehensive notes, real life scenarios, simulation exercises and networking opportunities.
"This program will be of interest to any Council who has a pool within their municipality. We can deliver the training which will assist in greater utilisation of their facilities by those with disabilities and better health outcomes in the local community. Aquatic activity is beneficial as it promotes a sense of well being, maximises body function and independence, improves mood and self esteem and provides fitness opportunities," .