International Halliwick Association (IHA) – Lecturers & Trainee Lecturers Course 2009
From 11th – 13th September a group of 23 Halliwick lecturers & trainee lecturers from 9 different countries met in Axams, a village near Innsbruck, for an international Halliwick training course. It was a fantastic opportunity to meet people from so many different countries, to exchange ideas about putting Halliwick into practice as well as teaching it. Also to hear about how Halliwick is developing around the world and discuss ways of moving Halliwick even further forwards in the future.
Representatives came from as far afield as Japan & Brazil, Poland & Israel as well as Denmark, Belgium, Ireland, Slovenia & Malta. It was fascinating to hear the different ways in which Halliwick has developed in the various countries. From Ireland where it has spreading through the Sports Development Network which is very strong with regard to adaptive sports, while in Israel and Brazil, Halliwick is the basis of hydro-therapy treatment and swimming teaching in the major centres where they are conducting some very interesting research.
Ann Gresswell (UK) Chair of IHA Education & Research Committee opened the course by illustrating how much Halliwick has developed in the last 10 – 15 years, but it wasn’t long before we were in the water, exchanging ideas about the Ten Point Programme in true Halliwick style, everyone joining in, singing, laughing and generally having great fun. Some things just transcend language barriers!
Miriam Getz & Merav Hader-Frumer (Israel) then gave us an extremely interesting & well researched presentation on the ICF (International Classification of Function) and the Ten Point Programme, showing how well Halliwick fits with this way of looking at working with people with disabilities, as it focuses on function and activities through to participation. Another pool session gave us more ideas and new ways of developing activities using the Ten Points.
Jean-Pierre Maes (UK & Belgium) then helped us to focus on children with cerebral palsy, especially those with hypertonia, encouraging us to think about how to use the different points of Ten Point Programme, again applying the ICF to encourage participation. Yet another pool session allowed us to expand on this in practice. Throughout the course we heard presentations about how Halliwick is used and is developing in the various countries and also there were poster presentations of some very interesting research. In Brazil one person had looked at using Halliwick with very young children with spina bifida as a means of assessing and treating the various levels, while another had used Halliwick with older children with haemophilia to improve range in their joints. In Israel they had done case studies on children with cerebral palsy, while a doctor in Slovenia had conducted an evaluation of the benefits of Halliwick using the SWIM (Swimming with Independent Measurement) assessment over a 3 year period.
In Malta the case study was on a child with PMLD. All these studies illustrated how versatile Halliwick can be and were able to demonstrate clearly the benefit that had been derived from using it.
It was an intensive 48 hours of lecturers and pool sessions but we were well sustained by a plentiful supply of the coffee and cakes for which the Austrians are renowned and the evenings were the opportunity to relax and unwind and share even more songs in between generous helpings of wonderful Austrian food. Such fantastic hospitality provided by Karin & Marcus and great organisation by the Education & Research Committee meant we came away buzzing with ideas and information – what a pity these courses only happen every 6 years!
Pamela Galloway, Trainee Lecturer