Swim lessons for deaf children aren’t yet commonplace, and that can be problematic for families who want their little ones to obtain the lifesaving skill.

The National Deaf Children’s Society says deaf children are missing out on opportunities to learn to swim because of excessive concerns about health and safety, and a lack of understanding about deafness. The London-based nonprofit’s research has shown that two out of five deaf youngsters (43 percent) have had trouble accessing pools or signing up for swim classes due to attitudes toward their hearing loss.

NDC encourages swim centers and clubs to do more for this population. Not only did the organization come out with a guide called Deaf-Friendly Swimming for swim coaches, but last year NDF also launched the Deaf-Friendly Swimming Project. The three-year program will work with swim clubs, leisure centers, swim schools and local authorities to provide swim instruction specifically aimed at fully including deaf youngsters and youths.

Here in the United States, there are aquatics professionals who have taken steps to include deaf children in learn-to-swim classes, such as the Hockomock YMCA in Massachusetts. It started a program for deaf kids in 2013, led by instructors adept in American Sign Language.

Meanwhile, a similar, new program at the Turton Pool in Bolton, England, has been getting rave reviews from grateful parents. Read More