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Therapeutic swimming with children

I’m Maria A. Rudakova. I do my swiming training classes for babies from 2001. The very first student in my training was my daughter. Together we started to learn the basics of this beautiful sport activity. At the age of two and a half she was accepted without face to face competition in one of the prestigious pools of the city of Moscow.

While living in London, we met with Birthlight program. After the birth of my the youngest daughter, I decided to learn Birthlight program better. Having so much experience in working with children from birth, as well as with children with special education needs, I discovered many new things for myself.

First, the use of fun songs and poems in the classroom. Now our trainings are like mini-shows in which children and parents become the main heros. It allowed to build closer ties within couples, to acquire a greater level of trust to each other, to understand and feel the environment without words.

Second, I had the opportunity to become not only a swimming teacher, but also a close friend to my students and their parents. Now, we have classes not only in our pool, but also organize outreach activities to other cities and countries, where we have chance to conduct our training in open water. Our "little" family of young swimmers organizes camps.

Six months ago I decided to implement a soft approach and Birthlight techniques in therapeutic swimming for children with cerebral palsy. This category of children needs swimming more then others, because water blocks pain that can occur while a child makes passive and active exercises. During the swimming treatment there is a significant reduction in the intensity of hyperkinetic disorders. The exercises aimed at suppressing pathological tonic activity and the prevention of the formation of abnormal postures and movement patterns are more effective in the water. Aqua therapy is effective for the prevention and elimination of contractures and deformities. As a result, the significant facilitation of different exercises for the child occurs the possibility to expand the range of its physical loads without any risk of causing significant tiredness. And thanks to Birthlight techniques, you can engage a comprehensive development of personality of children with cerebral palsy. Songs, poems as well as tasks for development of cognitive activity, the formation of mathematical concepts, speeches, etc. are widely used in trainings.