|Type||Underwater diving training organization|
|World Organisation of Scuba Diving (WOSD)|
|Affiliations||European Underwater Federation|
The International Association for Handicapped Divers (or "IAHD") is a non-profit organization with its headquarters in Middenmeer, the Netherlands. The organization was established in 1993, with the aim to promote, develop and conduct programs for the training in scuba diving of people with a disability. From 1993 to date (2008) IAHD have educated and certified over 5500 divers and dive professionals worldwide. As the IAHD is a non-profit foundation, all the people on the board are volunteers. There are also volunteers in regions around the world.
Physical exercise helps people improve their health both physically and mentally. A person with a disability gets these benefits as well as increased social activity by taking up an activity like scuba diving. Being involved with such activities may even result in giving a person with a disability a renewed interest in life and provide positive and lasting benefits.
The risks in training a disabled person in diving are no higher than for able bodied people. Instructors may have to alter some of the techniques and some equipment may also need changing to meet the individual's need. In some cases extra pool or open water training may be needed. In some extreme cases even individual lessons may be needed. IAHD believes that people with a disability should be in a regular class at some point in their training.
The IAHD offers courses specifically designed for people with physical or (minor) mental disabilities, courses for already certified SCUBA diving instructors to give them the ability to teach the above-mentioned courses and also courses for people who intent assist people with physical or (minor) mental disabilities at the surface or dive with them. These courses are available as described below: