8 Sensory-Motor Benefits of Aquatic Therapy

Summer is the perfect time to take advantage of all the therapeutic benefits of swimming and playing in the pool. Many children who have difficulty controlling their bodies for sports and gross motor activities will have success moving in the water. Its also such a calming and organizing sensory environment that it can provide a grounding experience for the child that can often last for the remainder of the day.

Eight  Activities to Enhance Pool Time

  1. Sensory Experience. Water provides 30x more deep pressure to the body than air and it is uniquely a full contact input to the body. Many children who become adept at swimming underwater will find it a very calming and organizing place to be. To encourage underwater swimming, have your child dive for fish or animal rings.
  2. Vestibular Stimulation. Moving through water creates controlled vestibular stimulation in various planes. All of this enhanced sensory input helps with body awareness development and motor learning. In addition to swimming, children can walk, somersault, or do angels in the water when supported on their backs. A hammock lounger can be used to support your child as she becomes more comfortable in the water.
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    Joni Redlich, DPT About Joni Redlich, DPT

    Joni is a pediatric physical therapist who specializes in developmental disabilities, is certified in Neurodevelopmental Treatment, and has extensive experience with sensory integration therapy. She blogs at Kid PT.