Youth Accessibility Leader, and student at the University of Waterloo, Liliana Paroski is a former competitive swimmer who wanted to help children with autism or ADHD more easily participate in the sport. Thanks to a Federal grant she was able to do just that. She secured $7,400 worth of new equipment, including seat cushions, weighted blankets, mirrors, noise reduction headphones, clocks, and coach communicating headsets. The equipment will help kids stay comfortable during hectic swim meets and better understand instructions from their coaches.
The Region of Waterloo Swim Club has some swimmers who have difficulty receiving the same feedback multiple times, Schultz said. With mirrors, kids receive feedback instantly, “They can see themselves and instantly know if they’re doing what they’re supposed to do,” she said. The headsets allow coaches to provide feedback while students are in the water, which eliminates the distraction of getting in and out of the pool. The clocks help with swimmers who need to know how many minutes they still have to perform any given task. And the rest of the equipment can help with the waiting. During meets, swimmers can often wait up to two hours in between races, she said. “In that two hour wait time, its not a quiet pool deck. Buzzers are going, timers are going off, coaches are yelling, people are splashing, there are people everywhere,” said Paroski. “It’s very stimulating, and it can disrupt them,” she said, adding that the noise cancellation headphones will help.
By making the swim club more accessible, Schultz said she hopes parents will be more likely to give swimming a chance. She said swimming is an ideal sport because it provides a team atmosphere but can also allow for a high degree of independence. “It’s also the only sport you can do for your entire life, so why not teach everybody how to swim?” Schultz said. It is a wonderful and inclusive opportunity for those kids, and it’s your Good News Story of the Day; read more here. It is also a good reminder to consider the ways we can be inclusive to those who would benefit in other activities we are a part of.
Story and Image from CBC News.