Swimming is a great sport and pastime, particularly for children with sensory processing difficulties, as the water provides a multi-sensory experience for the body. Swimming also addresses a variety of skills, ultimately improving your child’s sensory processing, strength, endurance and coordination.
Proprioceptive/tactile processing: The feel of water on the body gives proprioceptive input, the input to the muscle and the joints, and gives a sense of where the body is in relation to other body parts. The constant sense of the water against the skin provides deep proprioceptive input and helps with developing body awareness.
Vestibular processing: Somersaults under water or headstands at the bottom of the pool provide vestibular input, as the body is responding to the changes in head position and assisting with balance to complete these tasks.
Auditory processing: The pool environment typically provides a loud and vibrant auditory experience, as children’s laughter and happy shrieks are heard while they play in the pool.
Strength: Moving the body against water when swimming is a workout for the muscles! The water provides natural resistance for muscles, which in the long run, builds up overall body strength.
Endurance: Not only does the resistance of the water against the body make the body stronger, it also assists with endurance. As the muscles become stronger, they will be able to endure swimming and other activities for longer periods of time.
Coordination: Swimming strokes are very complex. The brain must take in all of the sensory information from the environment and act quickly to move the arms, legs, torso and head in a coordinated fashion to produce the movement.
So many children find swimming exciting and fun, and love spending summer days at the pool. Parents can also appreciate spending time at the pool knowing that this activity is not only fun, but also good for their child!