If a child is not a good swimmer yet is in a swimming class that takes place in the deep end of the pool, how should this be handled?

I would imagine that a swim instructor would have to stay very close by, making sure that the child does not go under. (Of course, one could question why the child is in the deep end of the pool, but let’s save that question for another time.)

If a child is classified in special education, often what I hear is that he/she is receiving “Inclusion Services.” Inclusion can take many forms, but on average it means that there is a special education teacher who plays a secondary, supportive role to the primary teacher in the classroom . Certain children are assigned to the inclusion teacher and are on her caseload. Typically, she helps the children assigned to her with the material that they are getting in class. The inclusion teacher will make sure the kids are on-board, offer pointers, and see to it that the children are basically keeping up with the class.

I am not knocking inclusion by saying this, but understand that inclusion is the equivalent of the instructor in the deep end of the pool. Inclusion is fundamentally different than direct instruction.

Direct instruction means that specific skills are taught within levels where the child is reasonably comfortable (e.g., the four foot water, as opposed to the deep end).

If you are the parent of a child who is classified, it is essential that you are clear on the difference. Inclusion is supportive, drowning prevention, while direct instruction is targeting specific skills to be developed, effectively helping the child be a better swimmer.

Both inclusion support and direct instruction are important, but too often the child is only getting one of them.

Without getting sufficient direct instruction, the child will always need to have someone close by to make sure he/she does not drown.