With its philosophy to Include. Thrive. Survive, Little Heroes Swim Academy is proud to provide aquatic education program opportunities for children and adults with a disability.
Since the program was co-founded in Sydney by Tracey Ayton and Chris Liu in 2012, Little Heroes Swim Academy – comprising of its staff, students and families – has truly become a vital part of the community.
Ayton is extremely proud of the work they do and lives and breathes the program’s motto of inclusion for all.
“We feel that all the families and kids need to be included in society and in activities, so what we do is educate children with disabilities in water safety, swimming lessons and swimming therapy,” Ayton said.
“Some of the students we have here will learn how to swim, other students will not learn how to swim, but they still benefit from the joy and freedom of movement the water will bring to them.
“Water is one of the leading causes of accidental death in children with autistic spectrum disorder, so first of all we teach them how not to drown and then the next bit which is how to swim.”
To assist Little Heroes continue its rewarding work, it received one of Swimming Australia’s Community Swimming Grants – which will help the program afford new facilities and equipment.
“The grant we received through the Community Swimming Grant program, which is supported by Sport Australia and Swimming Australia, is going to enable us to put in a specialised hoist in a new centre that we’re opening, so we can transfer the children to and from the pool with ease and dignity,” Ayton said.
Tracey Carroll’s daughter Kate, who has cerebral palsy and has been in a wheelchair since she was born, attends Little Heroes Swim Academy and absolutely loves her time in the water.
“Every week when we come back, she can swim a bit further and do a bit more – swimming definitely adds to her quality of life,” Carroll said.
Likewise, Daniel Kelso has been taking his son Will to Little Heroes since he was a toddler and can clearly see the benefits.
“We have a pool in our backyard and thought it was very important for him to learn how to swim,” Kelso said.
“He loves competition and sees this as his competition, and he bonds with his brothers over swimming which is really nice.
“The more facilities we have, the more teachers we can have and it’s going to make it a lot more economical for the families who need it the most.”
Under the Move It AUS- Participation Grants Program, Swimming Australia has committed to provide diverse community groups with funding to aid their aquatic programs. The program has invested a total of almost $600,000 into 27 community grants and 11 strategic partnerships that has reached more than 7,000 participants in 84 different locations throughout Australia.
For more information on the Little Heroes Swim Academy, click here. We know they can’t wait to get back in the pool when restrictions ease!