SAIL program making a difference for those with special needs

11 July 2017

With such ready access to so many water locations for swimming and recreation in our state, it’s vital for all West Australians to be able to take part in swimming and water safety education. Unfortunately, due to special needs or simply not fitting into the mainstream “box”, this education can be out of reach for some community members.

Royal Life Saving Society WA recently partnered with Kwinana Requatic to make their SAIL (Specialised Access and Inclusion Lessons) available to more people who could benefit from it. SAIL is offered to people of all ages with an intellectual, physical or behavioural issue or impairment who need individual attention or reduced distraction from other swimmers. It teaches basic water safety skills for those with special needs, and those who might require extra help to gain confidence in the water.

Since its inception 94 children and adults have participated in the program, with 34 students enrolled for the upcoming Term 3. The program has made a real impact for those involved, however enrollments had started to fall due to the high cost of the one on one lessons.

Royal Life Saving Society’s WA Swim and Survive Fund has stepped in to help to, subsidizing costs for those taking part to enable them to continue to participate in swimming and water safety education. The Swim and Survive Fund receives donations from members of the public to ensure everyone has the opportunity to learn vital swimming and water safety skills that could one day save their life.

For one participant, Kaeden, the one on one lessons provided by SAIL have been the difference between him taking part in swimming or giving up, according to his mum Melissa.

“Kaedan has been attending lessons at Kwinana Recquatic for 9 years.  He started in infant classes then progressed through to group lessons.  Kaedan has several medical issues which have become quite costly with appointments, treatment and surgeries.  We made the choice to do 1 on 1 swimming lessons to bring back the fun into his swimming.  He is happier in his 1 on 1 lessons, as he is not comparing himself to his peers, and his confidence is back. Without the SAIL opportunity at Kwinana Recquatic, he would most likely have given up on his swimming.”

Kaeden’s swimming has come so far that he recently competed in Royal Life Saving’s Junior Lifeguard Club state titles, coming away with a number of ribbons for his participation and thoroughly enjoying the experience!

The SAIL program is making a real difference in the Kwinana Community and we would love to see more programs like the rolled out across the Perth metro area and regional WA. If you’d like to make a donation to our Swim and Survive Fund to help us make this a reality follow the link below.

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