July 19, 2012
Autism Aquatic Therapy
Some have self stimulating behaviors, others have self injuries behaviors, and yet others have no awareness of the danger that going to the deep end may bring.
• Some quickly adapt to the water and find immediate joy in being immersed • Others are clingy due to unfamiliarity with the new environment, yet willing to try given a little coaxing from their therapist and parents.
• Other present with extreme fear, either due to a traumatic experience (e.g.; previously got thrown in the pool) or to a severe sensory processing issue such as gravitation insecurity.
• All have sensory processing issues that have either been successfully or unsuccessfully addressed by land based therapies
Purposeful activities in the water have many physical, psychological, sensory, cognitive, and react ional benefits.
1. The health benefits of engaging in water activities include improvement in strength endurance, coordination, balance.
2. It develops a positive mental attitude and promotes self-esteem, preparing the child to successfully engage in interpersonal relations.
3. It calms the child’s sensory system (e.g.; reducing hyperactivity, decreasing tactile sensitivity, decreasing self stimulatory behaviors and repetitive behaviors) so that he can cope with everyday demands.
Example: A boy ; not communicate, had feeding problem, presented with self injuries behaviors (such as biting himself, pinching and slapping), poor attention span and impulse control were a hindrance to learning basic concepts and communication skills.
Upon first engaging in AT, he was hesitant, fearful, and in fact threw several temper tantrums. After a few sessions, his speech therapist noted a decrease in aggressive behaviors towards himself and others, an improvement in his focusing abilities, and a remarkable improvement in his ability to communicate. Furthermore, he learned how to do proper strokes by watching the therapist’s demonstration.
4. It improves the child work behaviors (attention span, concentration, ability to follow instruction, etc) thereby making a more reception learner.
5. By engaging in regular recreational activities in the water, children can have a fun activity to lock forward to. 6. Lifestyles disease, such as high cholesterol, obesity and diabetes can be avoided.