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.
Aquatic therapy will consist of individual sessions of the therapist with the child, and it may consist of sessions where the family members are involved. The sessions can also be conducted as group therapy with multiple children and their parents.
A detailed assessment is duly undertaken before the session. Safety parameters for the therapy in each child is considered before starting the therapy. Building a rapport with the child on land before entering into the water is essential. The time duration for the aquatic program is pre-determined. Ideally an aquatic therapy program for ASD is for about 2-6 months with a frequency of 1-3 times per week.
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.