Deaf_Friendly_Image_810_456_80_s_c1_810_456_80_s_c1Olympic gold medallist Rebecca Adlington is raising awareness of a new online swimming course launched today that aims to help teachers and coaches include deaf children and young people in their lessons.

The National Deaf Children’s Society and the Amateur Swimming Association (ASA) have teamed up to create the Deaf-Friendly Swimming i-Learn course to help coaches become more deaf aware. The accredited course is easy to complete and free of charge.

Swimming is one of the sports deaf children and young people most want to take part in, however to be involved they must remove any hearing assistive technology, such as hearing aids. This combined with a noisy swimming pool environment and the need to understand coaches from a distance, means swimming can pose a number of challenges for deaf children and young people.

Rebecca Adlington said, “Swimming is a brilliant sport for children and young people to get involved in. It’s hard to imagine not being able to learn to swim and become confident in the water, yet this is the reality for many deaf children. The Deaf-Friendly Swimming i-Learn course is fantastic. It ensures teachers feel confident communicating with deaf children and young people and that they are able to take part. As a swimming teacher myself I will definitely be spreading the word!”

The Deaf-Friendly Swimming i-Learn course consists of eight modules, including Understanding Deafness and Swimming and Technology. Making simple changes to the way a swimming lesson is taught, such as using hand gestures or visual aids can ensure swimming coaches feel confident about teaching deaf children.

Hayley Jarvis, Head of Inclusive Activities at the National Deaf Children’s Society said: “Deafness should not stop children learning how to swim, yet we know too many are being denied the opportunity to learn this skill because swimming teachers, coaches and clubs do not always know how to meet their needs. Our existing Deaf-Friendly swimming resource has been very popular and we hope this online version will enable even more people to learn some basic skills that will enable deaf children and young people to be included in swimming activities.”

Carole Barough, National Disability Swimming Manager at the ASA said, “The ASA is keen to help everyone have the opportunity to learn to swim, continue to swim on a regular basis and maximise their potential. This new resource is an excellent tool for teachers and coaches to learn how to teach and coach the deaf swimmer and ensure that deaf and hard of hearing young people are fully supported in accessing swimming sessions. We encourage every active teacher and coach to take advantage of this brilliant free i-Learn course to continue to ensure that swimming is a fully inclusive sport.”

The Deaf-Friendly Swimming i-Learn course will be available from Monday 3 March and will be delivered through the ASA’s training partner, the Institute of Swimming. It can be accessed