Abstract Barcelona 2015

Abstract Lecturers Course, Barcelona, July 2015

Habilitation through activities in water

Bodil Føns Knudsen
Kerteminde, Denmark
M.A. Educational and Professional Development
M. Sc. Sports and Health
IHA recognized Senior Halliwick Lecturer

The presentation is a study of available offers of activities in swimming pools and conceptual understandings across sectors. It consists of an analysis of water activities on offer for children and youths with focus on children and youths with disabilities.

The study involves public institutions/ organisations, sports clubs and private initiatives in local municipalities across the different legislation within sectors. From this data material and with seven qualitative research interviews, the study provides an account of concepts and conceptual understandings which are used in the description and administration of the available offers of activities in water.

There seems to be differences, but also parallel tracks in conceptual understandings and in distinctions in the categorization of “children with disabilities”, “children with impairments”, “children with functional difficulties”, “children with special needs” and “children with a handicap”. There are more or less clear conceptual changes in the categorization of children into at least four levels from the legal foundation, to departmental order, to guidelines and to definitions and assessments in administrative practice.

Seen from a habilitation perspective, the phenomenon of “being free in water” and the skill “to swim” can be bound together with the child’s function and coping ability, physical dimensions as well as adventure and learning dimensions and with the child’s participation in social contexts. The participation in swimming in leisure time is greatly important for the social community spirit that develops between young people with disabilities. But the unclear use of terminology amongst the care- and the service providers can prevent children with disabilities from offers of water activities.

Grönvik, Lars (2007): Definitions of Disability in Social Science. Methodological Perspectives. Uppsala: Uppsala Universitet

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