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It’s in the Water: Hydrotherapy for kids with ASD

Posted by Gabriel Williams on

Hydrotherapy has been found to be an especially beneficial tool for helping children with autism. The surrounding water pressure on the body as well as the sensation of buoyancy makes for a particularly calming and therapeutic setting.

The calming nature of being in the water provides a unique opportunity for low-stress learning and physical activity. Whether you have access to a full-size pool, or you have a small pool you can fit in your backyard, there are plenty of ways you can begin using hydrotherapy with your child right now.

Before you try this be sure to ensure certain safety precautions take place. Start by using a life vest or other floatation devices. Stick to games that are strictly above the water surface before moving to games that involve diving under water. In any case, it is always crucial to make sure any time in the water is supervised.

If don’t have any equipment yet, not to worry, there are plenty of games you can play without any materials required other than a pool. Simple games like Marco Polo, red light green light, or Simon Says are great places to start.

If you decide to invest in some pool noodles or inner tubes, you can expand your tool box of game ideas. Simply floating around on the noodle or playing games like catch while balancing sitting on the noodle are some simple ways to help your child build muscle and coordination. Items such as kickboards are other good options to ease them into the water. 

When your child is comfortable diving underwater you can get even more creative. Find water safe toys and arrange them in different colored buckets under water. Give them some goggles and send them on a scuba mission to retrieve different items. You can invest in more specific pool games here (see link below for hypertext). For added challenges and resistance for muscle development, add some flippers for their hands or feet.

Hydrotherapy is a great tool that just about anyone can use. If you don’t have a pool or are struggling to find access to one, do some research to discover resources near you. Keep in mind some factors such as a loud aquatic center or water that is at an uncomfortable temperature may be deterrents for your child. Be patient, don’t be discouraged if it doesn’t work out right away, and most of all, focus on having fun with your child.


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