The father of a boy with a rare neurological disorder who is learning to swim said he didn’t want his son to be “a kid” if he were to be left out of his swim classes.
Aboriginal Youth and Child Development Minister Michael Wood said he was saddened by the family’s decision.
“The children who attend the program should be able to participate in the program, but they shouldn’t be able just because they have a disability to not be allowed to participate,” Mr Wood told ABC News.
The ABC has spoken to about 15 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families with children who are enrolled in the Swimming in Spanish program at a swimming pool in Sydney’s inner west.
They said the programs was essential for them to have a chance at success in life and for their children to be able learn the language.
Boys, girls learning in Spanish class in Sydney on Sunday.
Photo: Supplied They want their children, who are aged between three and eight, to be allowed access to the swimming pool and to have an opportunity to learn Spanish, while at the same time keeping their children safe and away from any potential problems.
But some parents are worried about the impact on their children.
In a Facebook post on Monday, the father of one boy, who has autism and dyslexia, wrote that his son was learning in the swimming program.
He said he wanted the program to be open to children of all ages, including children with disabilities, to teach the children how to swim.
One of the children at the Swinging in Spanish Swim Club at the Sydney Children’s Museum.
“[We are] just waiting for the next program to come in and we can get our children back into the pool,” he wrote.
His son is one of the kids in the swim program, with the other children being aged between four and eight.
Mr Wood said the Swirling in Spanish Program was one of about 400 Swinging In Spanish swimming pools around the world, with about 80 children from Indigenous backgrounds participating in the programme.
It was created in 2011 by the Swimmer’s Association of Australia to promote Swinging, which he described as a way for people with a disability or learning disability to enjoy the ocean and enjoy a good time in the water.
Swimming with a Disability, a non-profit organisation, supports the Swining in Spanish swimming program and provides the children with a range of activities for the children.