What is aquatic therapy?
Aquatic Therapy is defined as "The use of water and specifically designed activity by qualified personnel to aid in the restoration, extension, maintenance and quality of function for persons with acute, transient, or chronic disabilities, syndromes or diseases" by the Aquatic Therapy and Rehabilitation Institute. This basically means making use of various physical and chemical properties of water for the treatment of various disorders.
What to expect in a session of aquatic therapy?
Aquatic therapy may consist of individual sessions with therapist and the child, it may also consists of sessions where the family members or care takers are involved or the sessions may also be conducted as group therapy with multiple children and their parents or care takers.
A detailed assessment should be duly undertaken before the session. Building a rapport with the child on land before entering into the alien water environment is essential. Various techniques are used like Halliwick, Bad Ragaz ring method, Watsu, Aai Chi and aquatic exercises. For example: The Halliwick therapy uses a 10 point program to increase the water adaptability, breath control and movement of the body when immersed in water. Aquatic therapist will make use of all of these techniques in combination for optimum results. The time duration for the aquatic program is pre-determined. Ideally an aquatic therapy program for ASD should be for about 2-6 months with a frequency of 1-3 times per week.
What are the benefits of aquatic therapy?
Below listed are few benefits of aquatic therapy:
Aquatic environment is safe and easy to maintain however it also has an inherent risk of drowning and therefore the therapy must be undertaken by a trained and qualified professional. The resourcefulness of water allows for a large variety of goals that can be achieved with children on the spectrum. The distinctive characteristics of this condition have to be considered when designing and implementing an aquatic therapy program for this population.