Halliwick and Disabled Swimmers

The Halliwick Concept and the Benefits of Aquatic Therapy Exercises

It was while I was completing my first degree at Wollongong University, Sports Science, that I was involved with working with people with disabilities in the water. I took an elective which involved this work and I never looked back.

Working with hydro therapists, physios, special education teachers and great teachers of swimming, I found a world I enjoyed. This lead me to do further study in Halliwick, which is a specific method of working with people with disabilities in the water. Mainly severely physically disabled. The Halliwick Method originated in Austria and I was lucky enough to attend workshops by James McMillan who developed the techniques. My luck continued when I worked in a swimming club devoted to people with disabilities in London. I learnt so much.

The belief of “The Halliwick Concept” is that significant benefits can be gleaned from water  activities, and in turn has influenced aquatic therapy.

Rotational control is the most important part of the Halliwick 10 point program. This program provides the relevant learning fundamentals that are required the achieve the benefits.

The benefits are social, recreational, physical, personal and therapeutic and can help kids and adults with both physical and metal disabilities.

The technique was cited by Susan J Grosse in 1986 as " Water Freedom for the Handicapped"

Benefits such as:

  1. Learning to react appropriately in the water.
  2. The ability to control left- right movements.
  3. The ability to control movements such as, lying down, standing up and rocking in a chair.
  4. Rolling over from supine to supine.
  5. The ability to control a corkscrew movement.
  6. Understanding that water supports the body and you won’t sink.

As has been mentioned before, the paintings which hang on the walls of the swim school are snap shots of all the things I have been able to do because I learnt to swim. Working with people with disabilities in the water is a pure gift and one I will continue to be involved with.



"The Halliwick Method" by James McMillan

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