Most people are fascinated by scuba diving because it allows them explore the underwater world. Due to the nature of scuba diving; the fact that you are weightless under the water means that this is a sporting activity that all people, including those with physical and lesser mental disabilities can enjoy and benefit from. Water has been used over the years in recovery treatments and physical therapy, so this is a wonderful way for a person with a disability to enjoy the freedom of movement while discovering a whole new world under the water.
In contrast to most sporting activities that need some form of custom-made apparatus, such as in wheelchair rugby, basketball or cycling, scuba diving does not require any special equipment. When it comes to diving, able-bodied or not, you are weightless in the water and any limitation on movement that you may face on land is totally eliminated beneath the surface.
Diving has been proven to be therapeutic in helping to control pain, even stop it completely; reduce limitations, which in turn has a positive effect on both the mental and physical health of divers with a disability.
Training offered by a scuba diving center and organizations that support this
The International Association for Handicapped Divers or IAHD: This organization offers a variety of courses for able-bodied and disabled divers and an instructor training program that is recognized by the leading SCUBA organizations including PADI, SSI and NAUI.
The Professional Association of Diving Instructors or PADI: This is the largest and most recognized certification agency for diving worldwide. This association works with the IAHD to encourage divers with disabilities to give scuba diving a try and discover the truly magnificent world below the waterline.
Learning at a dive center
Divers with a disability will generally be assessed before embarking on their course. Scuba divers will be categorized based on their capabilities. For instance, divers at level A have to dive with a minimum of one person. However, the IAHD have specially designed their courses to minimise any gap in their certification courses and the levels will be similar to any of the diving unions. Not only is it possible to train a diver with a disability to dive in the open-water, but it is also possible for them to go on and take scuba diving up as a career; become an instructor and work your way up to Course Director.
As you can see, these are just some of the advantages for people diving with a disability, but the real secret of scuba diving, is that all can benefit from this activity.