Aquatic Therapy for Children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder: Occupational Therapists’ Perspectives
Swimming--Therapeutic use--United States; Autism spectrum disorders in children--Treatment; Recreational therapy for children; Behavior therapy for children--United States; Social skills; Motor ability; Swimming--Training
This study provided preliminary information about occupational therapy practitioners who used aquatic therapy with children with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Thirteen occupational therapists responded to a survey about clinical experience, use of aquatics in treatment, and the outcomes they observed. Results indicated that respondents used aquatic therapy for 44% of the children with an ASD for whom they typically provided services. The majority of respondents used this method with children ages 8 and under in a 1:1 ratio. One hundred percent of respondents indicated that water was a useful therapy tool due to the proprioceptive input received. The goal areas of sensory processing, attention, gross motor, and arousal were always addressed by the majority of the respondents. Over 75% of the respondents reported increases in general positive mood, motor skills, social skills, swimming skills, and comfort in the water. Results from this study were consistent with the findings of previous studies suggesting that clinicians’ are observing multiple benefits from the use of aquatic therapy for children with an ASD.
Date of Completion
Master of Science in Occupational Therapy (MSOT)
Date of Award
University of Puget Sound