A Guide to Adaptive Teaching in Scuba Diving

It’s no secret that scuba diving requires a lot of focus, strength and fitness. As demanding as being underwater is, you also need to make sure that you won’t experience one of the hundred things that could go wrong and cause serious consequences like death.

But people with disability also proved for many years that they too are capable of being successful scuba divers, all thanks to adaptive teaching. This method is more challenging than you think because you have little control of the environment that you’re in. But expert instructors have proven time and again that it is possible with the right techniques and mindset from both the teachers and their students.

How can you make adaptive teaching successful in scuba diving?

Do not define a diver by his disability. This may sound cliché, but a lot of people still judge others by their disability. In adaptive teaching, you look at a diver for his capabilities and not his disabilities.

This may be contradictory to some organizations’ names that include Disabled Divers International (DDI) and the International Association of Handicapped Divers (IAHD), but those who promote adaptive teaching wants to make sure that divers with disabilities get the same treatment as those without.

Do not point out what the diver lacks. If you’re teaching an amputee, you don’t say things like “It must be difficult to have no legs.” Although you might have the right intentions, showing empathy by pointing out what the diver lacks could only lead to pain. If someone wants to be a diver, you need to teach him the ways to become one without focusing on what he isn’t capable of doing.

Finally, it’s very important to give a diver as much independence as possible when you’re teaching him. Adaptive teaching is all about giving divers with disabilities the chance to be normal.

So, don’t help a diver unless you’re asked to. It’s also very rude to ask someone how he incurred his disability. Focus on what you can  offer for a diver rather than picking on his disability.


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