The Swim'n'Swing method can be applied to children and adults with intellectual disabilities as it uses music as a privileged tool of communication: music allows us to connect and communicate even when the individuals are not verbal.
During the sessions in the music studio, children are free to explore the objects in the room, while the therapist accompanies their movements and, in particular, their steps, with music. The musical instruments in the room can be used conventionally or they can be turned into games and be a bridge to nurture the relationship with the therapist.
The music produced in this way mirrors the physical and emotional state of the child (for example: if he/she moves actively, the music is agitated, if he/she is calm, then the music will be slow and peaceful). By exploiting the power of the music, we try to guide the child towards a positive emotional state. In addition to psychological well-being, these sessions help build a connection between rhythm and movement and therefore they begin to improve movements and gait.
In summary, the dry sessions aim at the development of body awareness, rhythmic sensitivity and trusting relationships. These are crucial for the next steps of the Swim’npSwing intervention.
Once the relationship with the therapist has been built, we add sessions in the pool. These activities continue to proceed in parallel. The session at the pool combines music played on the pool deck followed by swimming activity in the water. The absence of gravity in water facilitates the development of smooth and spontaneous movements. Additionally, the constant tactile stimulation of the water promotes proprioception and body awareness. All this is combined with the emotional component which is amplified and further explored in the water.
A similar process is also adopted for interventions with adults with intellectual disabilities. In this case, the main objective is the promotion of well-being and inclusion. Rhythm, music, walking and swimming are the keys to accomplishing this goal.