Warringah Rainbow Club

Children with Disabilities Learn to Swim in Supportive Environment.

Every Sunday morning at the Aquatic Centre in Frenchs Forest, children with a disability come for an individualised swimming lesson from one of Warringah Rainbow Club’s passionate and dedicated teachers.

As every parent knows, there is no ‘go-to’ manual for raising children, and parenting a child with a disability calls for extended community support to ensure the child and their family are not forced into a life that
excludes them from local community activities such as swimming lessons, school carnivals or trips to the beach.

Dee Why RSL has been providing support to the Warringah Rainbow Club since 2016, assisting with more than $16,000 over this time.

“Our Warringah Rainbow Club is all about finding a place in the community for children with a disability,” said Catriona Barry, General Manager of Rainbow Club Australia.

“We have a special program to subsidise those under seven years so that finance is not the barrier to the variety of therapies that they can access. Our Club is very grateful to Dee Why RSL for the grant that enables us to give the younger children a great start and confidence around water.”

The older children who have learned to swim, and no longer require individual attention, have a range of pathways to maintain their social participation. They can be seen representing their Club and competing at the Rainbow Club Family carnival every December, and on the beach at the Murray Rose Malabar Magic Ocean Swim every February.

“One of our older members is Caelan, who has been attending Rainbow Club for nearly 12 years. Caelan always loved the water and swimming, so dad Nick says he initially sought lessons for Caelan to become water safe, they are now teaching him butterfly! Nick believes Caelan is at this level through the dedication and understanding nature of the teachers, and in particular because of the brilliant leadership of swimming teacher Cathy Bray.

Warringah parents of children with a disability tell us about the importance of a range of specialised therapies and individual focus on learning skills at an early age. Indeed there is a lot of evidence to show that this early intervention enables a life that has greater quality at school and with the family. Any skill that helps develop friendships and reduce social isolation for children is an important asset in the early years,” added Catriona.

Visit myrainbowclub.org.au to find out more.