Accessibility November 13, 2019
New swimming pool at Chennai will help kids with disabilities experience underwater thrills
The National Institute for Empowerment of Persons with Multiple Disabilities (NIEPMD) in Chennai recently opened a new swimming pool for children with disabilities at their centre. The pool has all the state of art facilities and kids will be trained under the guidance of experts. Since hydrotherapy does wonders to a disabled child, parents and members from the community have welcomed this latest initiative.
Experiencing the depths of water and indulging in it can do wonders to a person, especially if they have a disability. Experts have proved how hydrotherapy helps to improve the many skills of a person with disability. It enhances the muscle strength, decreases joint pain and even helps to improve cognitive skills to name a few. The National Institute for Empowerment of Persons with Multiple Disabilities (NIEPMD) in Chennai recently opened a pool, especially for children with disabilities. Members from disability community have given a thumbs up for this latest government initiative.
Reportedly, a central government initiative like this for kids with disabilities has been started in the city for the first time which makes it even more unique. Children with all kinds of disabilities including muscular dystrophy, muscular atrophy and autism can get the best swimming experience at the NIEPMD pool under the guidance of experts. Rs 1.31 crore have been spent on this project which is already open to the public.
Madhavi Latha, a wheelchair user, is a Paralympic swimmer from Chennai. Madhavi is the President of the Wheelchair Basketball Federation of India and believes that swimming can be beneficial to people with disabilities in many ways.
A similar pool for disabled people was started behind the Jawaharlal Nehru indoor stadium. It is great that such initiatives for people with disabilities are coming up in the city. Hydrotherapy is great for health. So any rehabilitation facilities must definitely have it with expert trainers. When you go underwater, the body weight is lesser. I can make movements and even jump under water which I cannot do otherwise-Madhavi Latha, Paralympic Swimmer.
15 children can use the pool at the same time for about 30 to 45 minutes. All the facilities of the pool are available free of cost for people below poverty line. Experts will ensure that the pool temperature is maintained between 32-40 Degree Celsius. A heating system of Rs 31.5 lakh will be introduced soon. Since the pool is below five feet, children can safely move around. International standards are maintained to ensure nothing lesser than the best for the NIEPMD pool.
“Hydrotherapy is very useful in the treatment of various intellectual and developmental disabilities. Though it is known for helping people with cerebral palsy and muscular dystrophy, it is equally good for kids who have autism and ADHD since they have relatively low muscle tone. It helps to calm them down and also in enhancing their sensory integration. A hydrotherapy centre is very expensive and we do not have many such places. It is indeed laudable that the NIEPMD has set it up for the benefit for all. Special needs community would look forward for more such facilities being available in more Indian cities”, says Gopi Ramakrishnan, Co-founder, SCAN, a popular parent support group in Chennai.
Experts will conduct various programmes and activities for children at the pool. Experiencing the water is going to be a new and blissful experience for many kids with disabilities.
BS Santosh Kanna, head of the physiotherapy department of NIEPMD says to Times of India, “The pool will helps us to speed up the rehabilitation process and improve the quality of life of people with disabilities, and help increase the life span of those suffering from muscular dystrophy by seven to 15 years”.
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