Par­ents cam­paign for spe­cial swimming classes

The Oban Times - - News -

‘POS­I­TIVE talks’ are un­der way be­tween Lochaber Autism Sup­port Group and the Lochaber Leisure Cen­tre to dis­cuss po­ten­tial ad­di­tional sup­port needs (ASN) swimming classes for chil­dren in the area.

Amie-Louise Wal­lace, who set up the Lochaber Autism Sup­port Group two years ago, has been can­vass­ing par­ents in Lochaber who have chil­dren with ASN to as­sess the need of tai­lored swimming classes.

Amie-Louise told The Oban Times: ‘A a lot of ad­di­tional needs chil­dren can­not at­tend the nor­mal lessons and there is not an al­ter­na­tive of­fered by High Life High­land un­less you can af­ford one to one lessons out­with your mem­ber­ship.’

A num­ber of par­ents con­tacted Amie-Louise to ex­press their in­ter­est in ASN swimming classes and a few have been speak­ing to The Oban Times.

Mum Kather­ine Dou­glass said her chil­dren would ben­e­fit from ASN swimming classes. She said: ‘My two chil­dren have a chro­mo­some dis­or­der 22q11 du­pli­ca­tion and with this they have ad­di­tional needs. My son Mark Dou­glass has a learn­ing dis­abil­ity, de­vel­op­ment de­lay, hy­per­mo­bil­ity syn­drome and se­vere anx­i­ety. My youngest Anna O’Don­nell has hy­per­mo­bil­ity syn­drome, prob­lems with her bowel and speech de­lay.

‘I also have a five-year- old daugh­ter who has anx­i­ety and is wait­ing to be tested for the same dis­or­der. My chil­dren don’t so­cialise well, so ASN swimming lessons would be fan­tas­tic for them.’ Eilidh Dun­leavy also con­tacted The Oban Times to say her son can­not at­tend main­stream swimming lessons due to his learn­ing dif­fi­cul­ties.

She said: ‘I am very keen to see some­thing put in place for chil­dren such as Lewis and hope­fully, with enough in­ter­est, this can be some­thing that’s looked into.’

Nikki Ja­siczak said there is ‘ very lit­tle to no ac­tiv­i­ties for chil­dren with ad­di­tional needs yet they are the chil­dren that most re­quire them’.

While Nikki’s el­dest son does at­tend swimming lessons, she said that he strug­gles with con­cen­tra­tion and lis­ten­ing to in­struc­tions. She said: ‘The swimming lessons are com­pletely full and Reuben could do with a smaller set­ting and a lit­tle more un­der­stand­ing from the in­struc­tors.

‘My younger one, how­ever, has no self- con­trol and can­not func­tion as well in nor­mal ses­sions so will need these smaller classes tai­lored to chil­dren with ex­tra needs.’

Amie-Louise added: ‘The talks are pos­i­tive and I am hop­ing by the end there may be a class avail­able that is tai­lored more for ASN chil­dren.’

A High Life High­land spokesper­son said: ‘ We are work­ing with the Lochaber Autism Sup­port Group to iden­tify the re­quire­ments for, and then de­liver, swimming lessons to chil­dren with ad­di­tional sup­port needs.’

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