What to Know about Aquatic Therapy for Children with Autism
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) affects neurological functions and results in developmental disorders with various symptoms. That’s why it’s known as a spectrum. It includes conditions like the one previously known as Asperger’s syndrome and childhood disintegrative disorder. It’s a lifelong health status that usually starts in early childhood.
The causes of autism are still unexplained, but researchers suggest that genetic and environmental factors have significant roles. It primarily affects the individual’s social and learning skills. The symptoms include a lack of sustained interactions, repetitive behavior, and fixations, etc. Thus, they may be unable to relate to people and situations in the same way as others.
Research and Advocacy
Autism is quite common in various societies, but many people are still unaware or uninterested. That’s why more research and advocacy are essential for people on the spectrum to ensure proper information. They’re also necessary to promote the rights of these individuals and provide an inclusive society. That includes fair treatment and consideration in schools, offices, and other public places.
Autism in Children
As aforementioned, autism typically manifests in childhood. It affects development and might even result in the loss of skills already developed. Hence, we see the importance of paying close attention to developmental milestones. It helps to discover any anomalies on time for early evaluation and diagnosis. As in other conditions starting treatment or therapy immediately yields better outcomes.
It’s a vital concern, and parents mustn’t take it for granted. Such children mostly require structured environments and schedules to help them thrive. It’s important to know that the condition is in no way their fault, and you mustn’t scold them for the inability to do certain things. There are various ways to help them, and it starts with support from their family.
There’s no sole treatment for autism, and the therapy usually incorporates various activities. Some of them include behavioral therapy, educational therapy, exercise, sensory processing, and anger management. There’s also pharmacological therapy, which mainly involves using antipsychotics. There are also some atypical treatments, one of which is aquatic therapy.
Goals of Autism Therapy
Depending on the child’s position on the autism spectrum, the goals of therapy may differ slightly. However, there are primary goals or progress expectations for each type of treatment. Speech therapy aims to improve language skills in various contexts and boost verbal communication. Meanwhile, social skills therapy seeks to help form friendships, initiate, sustain, and enjoy interactions and play.
The list goes on, and you can adjust them based on each child’s needs. In setting goals, you must know the treatment records, if any. Then, ensure pacing and lots of encouragement. It’s not an immediate thing, and you can’t force or will them into making progress. Hence, there’s a need for patience, both family and therapists. It’s a process, and you must handle it as such.
It’s also known as hydrotherapy and uses water immersion to achieve specific motor coordination and sensory processing goals. Thus, some people consider it as part of physical therapy. That’s because it involves swimming, which is a known form of exercise. The instructors or therapists offer structured guidance and motivation to give them a morale boost.
Hydrotherapy, like swimming, has a social element to it. There has to be an interaction between the child and therapist and other children in the same session. Therefore, it helps in improving certain social behaviors. Some studies suggest that it also helps remove compulsive action patterns like nodding, rocking, tapping, and hand-flapping.
The water’s soothing nature and hydrostatic pressure could also help improve vestibular issues and sensory processing. The overall goal is that they’ll eventually develop motor functions and endurance to project to other activities. However, note that though this form of therapy is fun and practical, it shouldn’t replace other necessary treatments.
Appropriate Water Sources
Now we know the benefits of hydrotherapy. We must also understand the water itself can determine that part of the effectiveness. Designated faucets supply most pools. As with those for drinking water, you need good filters that are surprisingly difficult to remove. That makes it long-lasting and prevents unknown or unexpected removals.
Generally, you must ensure clean water, especially since the therapy is for children. That’s because they’re more prone to have irritations or accidentally swallow some water. It, therefore, calls for a high quality product as crucial as a dispenser for drinking water. Though it provides safety, you must take other measures to ensure an all-around useful session.