Scuba Diving rehabilitation charity Deptherapy has announced that it is working on a series of exciting new programmes with agency partner RAID which are destined to transform scuba diving training for all abilities…

Award-winning Deptherapy is the acknowledged world leader in Adaptive Teaching – training those with life changing mental and/or physical challenges through specially designed scuba diving programmes that enable divers to achieve standard agency certifications.

Many of Deptherapy’s programme members have suffered limb loss and other significant physical injuries. 80% of members are suffering from PTSD or other chronic mental illness. Sadly, people with all kinds of disability are still actively discriminated against inside and outside the scuba diving industry. However, the work of Deptherapy has shown that even those with massive injuries can still meet all the standards required to become main agency qualified divers.

Successful Adaptive Teaching requires considerable additional effort from the instructional team, working very closely with the student, to think ‘out of the box’ so that the individual can achieve the required standard. Until now, the majority of Deptherapy programme members have been veterans but the charity has long been a champion of the cause to make scuba diving accessible to all those with disabilities.

Moving forwards with RAID, Deptherapy and its training arm Deptherapy Education are now working towards extending their programme to push the boundaries of Adaptive Teaching for a wider cohort, as well as offering an alternative for those with disabilities or medical conditions that mean standard certifications are unachievable.

Richard Cullen, Chair of Deptherapy explains: “The Deptherapy Team is realistic, and we know from experience that some divers will not be able to achieve the standard certifications, even with Adaptive Teaching, due to the nature of their illness or injury. For instance, a quad amputee or a quadriplegic cannot complete all the skills required but they can still dive on a limited certification, providing they do so with the support of a qualified team trained to support a diver with extreme levels of disability.

“In partnership with RAID we are working on a new model of both Adaptive Teaching, but also we want to provide limited certifications similar to the old D1- D3 levels for those divers who are unable to meet required standards. Under the new model, specially trained dive professionals will carry out an exhaustive assessment of every potential diver to determine their possibility to achieve mainstream certifications before continuing on either programme.”

A new training programme for dive professionals is being finalised to facilitate the new teaching models. The new Deptherapy / RAID course for Instructors and Divemasters will prepare trainers to teach adaptively, to understand disability, to make realistic assessments and, most importantly, to support their student through the challenges of becoming a diver. The diver training programmes will then be available through RAID dive centres worldwide.