Swimming Swimming Photo Credits: Jayna Tan

Swimming is a fun and enjoyable activity that most people, especially young children naturally love. It awakens the whole sensory system and is a great way to chill in hot and humid Singapore. 

It is a popular activity for family members to participate in and bond regardless of age or ability. Swimming is also an inexpensive way to gain a healthier and happier lifestyle.


When people take up swimming as a sport, very often than not, they find that they improve in their self image,  self-confidence, flexibility, strength, motor- coordination and overall stamina.

Such benefits have also been reported in persons with disabilities.


But Wait, I am Afraid of Water!

If you or your child suffers from hydrophobia (fear of water)? Fret not.
You can start with non-swimming activities like 

  • walking
  • jogging
  • or doing cycling action in shallow water

This is helpful for  persons with disability to consider embarking on. It is less threatening, very achievable and just the body motion in water tones muscles. This also helps in building up water confidence.


Kind on the Joints, Freedom for the Spirit.

While on land, we may experience joint pain due to the impact from movements like running and jumping. But when in the pool, water makes us buoyant and supports our weight, spine, joints and muscles, thereby relieving the stress off our joints and spine. This is particularly helpful for people with physical challenges and who spend most of their time on wheelchairs, or supported by crutches or braces, as they may experience the joy of freer physical movement buoyancy provides in water. In some cases, this may also help to relieve pain. Additionally, water provides resistance that is good for muscular endurance and strength training. Even an hour of unstructured water play can increase muscular strength, endurance, and cardiovascular functional capacity. (It is good for your heart!).


Where’s the Lifeguard?!

Safety is paramount as water can drown anyone, even a seasoned swimmer. Many-atime, children face near-drowning experiences in the pool and  became afraid of water. This can be largely prevented if parents or caregivers stay  close by and are vigilant. It helps if they can be in the water with their children as it will improve bonding. Do not ever leave children alone, in or near water, even for a minute.  Even if a child could swim, they may get cramps or face some difficulties that they cannot cope with alone in the pool.


Warm it UP!

Although swimming has a low impact on joints, it is important to do a self-check before you swim to ensure one is sober, not overly tired or ill. Before jumping into the pool, remember to have a proper warm-up as this will reduce the risk of muscle cramps and injuries.
So…start right for a great swimming experience. Swimming can be fun for everyone!

Jeremy Tan

Jeremy Tan was a former competitive swimmer and water polo player. He is currently the principal Safety in Water Inclusive Model (S.W.I.M) educator at S.W.I.M. Movement Singapore. He is also a certified AUSTSWIM swim educator for people with disabilities.
He can be reached at welove2swim2@gmail.com


  • SpecialSeeds.sg Team

    SpecialSeeds.sg Team - Tuesday, 26 January 2016

    Thks to Danny Ong for the info on the float. Here it is:
    "They are sold in Australia. They do ship to Singapore. This is the website: http://www.theraquatics.com.au/Default.asp?

    They carry great stuff for person with special needs. If not sure if it work especially for the neck support, give me a call. I can let them try mine. Do not use those from baby Spa. They are not suitable and does not support them naturally."

    Group buys may be a good idea.

  • Michelle Seah

    Michelle Seah - Tuesday, 26 January 2016

    May I check where we can buy the float (boy in pic). Thanks

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Question of the Month

  • Q: What are the various compressive suits available and in what way do they help a child with special needs?

    A: There are various compressive suits available worldwide, just do a google search on compressive suits for therapy and a long list will appear. Each suit has different properties, is made of different materials and claims to have certain benefits. For example: compressive suits for children with autism are supposed to improve sensory input. Compressive suits have also been used for children with poor balance and proprioception (knowing where your limbs are in space). However, not all suits are suitable for all children. Compressive suits can cause increased difficulty in breathing, worsen scoliosis or hip dysplasia if not fitted properly.

    Please consult your therapist for an assessment before use.

    Janell Lee
    Paediatric Physiotherapist

Video Spotlight

Credit: A video by Channel 5

Credit: A video by Trixie Chua & Celine Kim for Special Seeds Singapore.

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