One of the greatest rewards of my life has been introducing Scuba to those with Physical and/or Cognitive challenges. Whether it is an injured veteran, or a child with autism, the satisfaction, joy and sense of accomplishment cannot be quantified.
I’ve been an instructor for 7 years now and have done hundreds of certifications. I’ve been working with students with disabilities for about 3 years now and I can tell one thing for sure is that they are not disabled! The water is a great equalizer. It removes gravity from the equation and returns as sense of accomplishment and adventure that some of these students never thought possible again. The ability to adapt the program to accommodate some of the challenges our students face is remarkable.
There is a fair amount of research out there that will tell you that hydro therapy, including scuba has greatly accelerated therapy in many cases. There is also some early research that implies that water pressure in as little of 7 feet of water can have very positive effects on those with brain injuries. Additionally, social aspect of diving cannot be underestimated when giving people the tools to heal themselves…or at least learning to cope.
Learning to teach scuba diving has been a fantastic experience for me. Learning to teach those with disabilities has been transformational!