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Swimming programs at Mount Ommaney Special School are conducted in our indoor, heated hydrotherapy pool. Our programs are tailored to the physical, emotional and sensory needs of the individual students. Our programs also include “Learn to Swim”. Choice making, asking for more, telling us likes and dislikes, turn taking, counting, action songs, games, sequencing of skills are an integral component.  Our students’ love being in the pool and we have so much fun. The motivation of being in the water can be so high that we not only see some wonderful improvement in their physical and/or swimming skill development throughout the year but we also see some lovely interactions and socialisation with friends and helpers. We also hear happy vocalisations and words that perhaps aren’t heard regularly throughout the day. We see students gaining confidence, often encouraged by what they see their peers doing. Of course they are also developing self-care skills, especially the newer younger students, such as; remaining with their group to come and go safely from the pool, learning to wait, assisting to dress or learning to do it by themselves and taking responsibility for their own belongings.

Bike Riding

Mount Ommaney Special School has developed a cycling program that provides opportunities for bike riding for students who are independently mobile as well as those with severe and multiple disabilities. Our fleet of bikes range in size, so age and physical stature is not an impediment to access. The varying degrees of adjustments and support fittings that can be added or removed accordingly, allow staff to individualise the bikes to cater for physical capability. Where necessary, when fitting a student to a bike, the physiotherapist will supervise. We have achieved the vision of providing for as many of our students as possible. The specific program removes barriers for our students with highly complex, physical and learning needs that cannot be met on traditional cycles. 71/80 of our students access the bike riding program. Those who don’t ride have physical and health restrictions which prevent them from being able to get on a bike.
Bike riding is a fun, motivating activity for most students. It is an activity that many families partake in for leisure. Students feel movement in a different way especially for those reliant on a wheelchair or stroller for transport and especially for those particular students, bike riding offers them the opportunity to be in control of where they are going. As the students ride around the school pathways they socialise with other students and staff on the way, they learn the lay out of the school grounds and they encounter different terrain (hills, grass, gravel). Improvements can be seen in their neck, trunk and leg strength, in their posture, balance and independence, also in their ability to reach and grasp, push through their legs and hold their head up high. This ultimately can assist the students’ ability with transfers, sitting posture, walking (reciprocal leg movement), standing balance for dressing as well as their personal wellbeing and self-esteem.
The benefits of bike riding are not only therapeutic, fitness and fun. Bike riding links to some ICP goals and to our curriculum, and not just Health and Physical Education. It links to Literacy (reading signs, communication, choice making, commenting likes and dislikes), Numeracy (distance, counting - “just one more push” or “3 times around the garden”, first/second in races), Science (cause and effect – push on the pedal and the bike moves, turn the handles and it goes this way) as well.
Quality outcomes and continuous improvement for students with disabilities are being progressively enhanced at MOSS by providing physical education programs that allow all students to participate at their own level where medically safe to do so. The bike riding program has produced wonderful therapeutic and learning outcomes as an activity of genuine educational worth within an educational setting.