The Halliwick Concept 2010 …
International Halliwick Association (IHA) Education and Research Committee 2010 – Ann Gresswell,Aoife Ní Mhuirí, Bodil Fons Knudsen, Jean-Pierre Maes, Mauricio Koprowski Garcia, Merav Hadar-Frumer and Montserrat Gutierrez Bassas.
Material on this page is downloadable as a PDF here.
When Halliwick was first developed (for further details, see ‘The Halliwick Story’) it was called Halliwick Method. The International Halliwick Association (IHA) was formed in 1994 with the objectives of promoting and developing Halliwick throughout the world. The IHA decided to use the term Halliwick Concept as the word ‘concept’ suggests a broader framework within which different practitioners can apply Halliwick, as appropriate, in different contexts.
The Concept has influenced traditional swimming teaching and hydrotherapy techniques. It has also been developed into specific therapeutic activities.
The Halliwick Concept recognises the benefits that can be derived from activities in water, and sets out the fundamentals necessary for teaching and learning in this environment. These benefits are holistic including physical, personal, recreational, social and therapeutic aspects. Therefore it can have an important impact on people’s lives.
Halliwick uses the term ‘swimmer’ for anyone who is learning in the water, whether they can swim independently or not, emphasising inclusion, participation and high expectations.
‘Swimmers’ learn to control their own balance in water, without flotation aids. This is achieved by working on a one-to-one basis with a helper who gives adjustable, minimal support.
Working in groups gives the ‘swimmer’ a chance to enhance learning as it improves motivation and allows ‘swimmers’ to learn from each other. The group situation allows opportunities for communication and socialising. Games are also used as a good way of learning through structured play and fun.
Good communication between a ‘swimmer’ and helper is essential for a large number of reasons including the ‘swimmer’ being able to be involved in the learning process.
Halliwick practitioners take into consideration different ways to help people maximise learning. This applies in teaching ‘swimmers’ with disabilities and also when teaching new instructors on courses.
Through the Ten Points the ‘swimmer’ gradually gains better breath, balance and movement control, becomes more confident in the water and experiences increased freedom in the water.
This is achieved by working on a one-to-one basis with an instructor who gives appropriate supports, allowing the ‘swimmer’ to learn without the use of flotation aids. Whenever possible, ‘swimmers’ initiate and control the movements with the instructor supporting as necessary.
For many the Ten Point Programme will be the opportunity to learn to swim competently, whilst for others it will give the chance to join in other aquatic activities.
The 10 points are …
Mental adjustment is an ongoing process throughout the learning process. For example, the learning of breath control (one aspect of Mental Adjustment) can start as a separate skill, just blowing onto the water, but then will be combined with other skills e.g. sitting on the bottom of the pool.
One example of feeling the effect of upthrust is when, trying to pick up something from the pool floor, the swimmer will find that he/she will come back to the surface with very little or no effort.
Having mastered the ability to control all the points of the Halliwick 10-Point Programme, the swimmer is able to engage in a wide variety of activities in the water. He can play, submerge, compete and learn swimming strokes. The swimmer has now achieved independence in water.
The individual’s quality of life is at the centre of the holistic approach to health used in the biopsychosocial model as used by the World Health Organisation’s International Classification of Functioning Disability and Health (ICF) – (WHO 2001).
The holistic Halliwick approach of teaching people to participate in water activities, to move independently in water and to swim fits well within the framework of the ICF.
Therapists wishing to address particular limitations can again use the Halliwick structure with specific attention to areas such as movement (including range, co-ordination and planning), strength, stamina, respiratory capacity, oral control, fitness etc. The water can also be a valuable place for sensory-integration.
Social skills, communication, learning ability, psychological well-being and self esteem can be developed through Halliwick sessions, especially when working in groups.
Working using Halliwick introduces a new environmental factor to work on movement and balance control strategies in a different way. The attributes of the aquatic environment, specifically the physical properties of water, can assist the individual in promoting his abilities in physical, emotional and social functioning (Harris, 1978; Adams& McCubbin,1991; Broach & Datillo, 1996; Hutzler et al, 1998; Cole & Becker, 2004; Getz, 2006).
The Ten Point Programme develops the patient’s ability to initiate and perform movements and activities which may be difficult to achieve on land.
Opportunities to practise movement in the aquatic environment may facilitate new patterns that increase the recognition and understanding of different concepts of motor learning, sensory processing and cognitive learning and develops the ability to organise movement patterns and control activities required in daily living. (MacKinnon, 1997; Bumin et al., 2003; Getz, 2006; Getz et al., 2007).
Swimming can be an important activity in promoting well-being throughout a person’s lifespan. As outlined previously, swimming as a therapeutic tool has an important role in improving and maintaining health.
The International Halliwick Association (IHA) is an organisation with the objectives of promoting and developing internationally the Halliwick Concept. For more details of the IHA go to the IHA website at www.halliwick.org. If interested in attending a course, or organising a course, you can find details of Lecturers to contact on the ‘Courses and IHA Lecturers’ page of the IHA website.
The video clips were made possible with funding from the Institute of Technology, Tralee, Ireland (www.ittralee.ie) and were developed and produced by the Education & Research Committee of the International Halliwick Association (IHA) 2010, and are posted here with the kind permission of the IHA (www.halliwick.org).
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