Tuesday, 21 May 2013


As I’m sure many of you are aware, most local authorities offer swimming classes specifically for those with additional support needs.  While this may stray away from the ethos of inclusion, it can be the only way that swimming is possible for some and a stepping stone for others.  As with many of these activities, they cover a range of support needs and the level of support given varies with the age and needs of the child.  I am unsure if there is a specific qualification for teachers, but my experience of the empathy and awareness shown would indicate a level of training.

If anyone has not already investigated this option and would like to know more about specific classes in their area then please leave a comment below.  I have gathered details / contacts for a few councils and happy to share these and any others I get.

Now we had a specific problem in swimming, if you can’t hold your head up consistently on dry land how do you do it in water.  So how do you get to do the swimming you enjoy?  Well up until recently, it involved E being held all the time she is in the water.  This was fine but didn’t really work in terms of independence, water confidence and best positioning.  Trying to find flotation aids was not easy.

After another regular trawl of the internet, I came across the PFD-A.  It’s basically a buoyancy aid with an integrated head float. 

Our device was kindly funded by the family of the swim instructor selling tablet at Rosslyn Chapel.  It was incredibly successful with E pushing her instructor away within seconds of getting in the water and lessons are now focused on developing strokes for independent swimming.

Now for the technical part:   All swimming is done on your back as it cannot support swimming on your front.  To get it on and off is a two person job but may be easier if you use a changing table.  They are made in Canada and need to be personally imported (incurring import tax).  They come in a variety of sizes with plenty of growing room and I found contact with the suppliers really helpful.


  1. Hi Sonia,

    This is fab, do you know if it comes in toddler sizes?

    Love your blog!


  2. Marisa

    There is a smaller size than teh one we have for 6 - 15 kg. I phoned him to discuss sizing when buying ours and find him incredibly helpful.