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  • Writer's pictureShayna Gavin, Splash Principal Physiotherapist

Facilitating inclusion in swimming lessons for children with specific learning needs

I'm honoured to be presenting a joint lecture for the Australian Physiotherapy Associations's two national groups, Paediatrics and Aquatics, again this year.

Inclusion and participation

I'll be speaking about the ways in which physiotherapists and swimming teachers can work together to achieve the best learning outcomes for children, and facilitate their inclusion in community based swimming lessons.

Inclusion in community, education, leisure and sporting activity is definitely something that I am passionate about.

I love having the chance to work with physiotherapists, swimming teachers and allied health professionals to share our skills.

Many of the families I work with have the goal of transitioning from aquatic physiotherapy into community based swimming lessons.

These children may still need physiotherapy (either on land or in the water), but participating in community swimming lessons is a wonderful regular activity for all children.

Details about the lecture evening at the Australian Physiotherapy Association

In line with Australian Physiotherapy Association policy, the lecture evening is free for physiotherapy members of the National Paediatric or National Aquatic special interest groups, and at a reduced rate for APA members. Others are however welcome to come along. Last year when I presented case studies, I believe we had occupational therapists, teachers and parents in the crowd.

Here's the link to register your interest or to see all the details.

15th July 2015, 7 to 8.30 pm

Here's the abstract:

Bubs and kids in the water: facilitating inclusion in swimming lessons

Physiotherapists and swimming teachers each have their own set of unique skills. By working together, they can complement each other to achieve great health outcomes and facilitate participation of babies and children with specific learning needs in the aquatic setting. Shayna will draw upon her backgrounds both as a swimming teacher and as a physiotherapist working in paediatrics, using video footage of her aquatic physiotherapy sessions, to discuss strategies, skills and specific roles of physiotherapists and swim teachers in this population.


Shayna Gavin, APAM works with babies and children in the water as well as in children's homes, childcare and schools. She combines her backgrounds in swimming teaching, aquatic physiotherapy, paediatric physiotherapy and Bobath/ Neuro Developmental Treatment to develop novel treatment approaches for the children she sees in the water.

More information about:

Shayna Gavin is a physiotherapist who is passionate about helping babies, children and young people learn functional skills so they can participate in life at home, school and in their community. Recognising that children do best in their own environments, she visits homes, schools, and leisure activities from football fields to ballet classes. She also has daily aquatic physiotherapy sessions available at two private swimming schools in Moonee Ponds and Greensborough, Melbourne. She combines principles of paediatric physiotherapy, Neuro Developmental Treatment / Bobath, motor learning, Sensory Integration and swimming teaching to address the individual needs of each child and their family. She loves providing professional development to physiotherapists, allied health and education professionals, allied health assistants and swimming teachers.

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