So you want to learn to swim?
Welcome to the Empowering Steps Aqua Therapy Program!
The Aqua Therapy program is a 1:1 therapy currently consisting of 10 Stages of progression. Each Stage focuses on developing 4 main components: an understanding of general water safety and pool rules, stroke development, movement therapy based skills, and physical conditioning. Every child undergoes an initial assessment before beginning the program. From this assessment, we are able to better understand the individual needs of each child including other areas of difficulty such as behavior, communication, cooperativeness and relationship development and place them in the appropriate Stage. Their progress is recorded in a daily log book and assessed every 5 months.
The 1:1 nature of the program is designed to promote trust between the therapist and the child. This is a critical link to their success and progression throughout the program. For example, it is not uncommon for Autism and Anxiety to come hand in hand. By building trust, the child is more willing to try skills that may feel slightly “scary”. As they are able to conquer those fears and complete harder and harder tasks, their confidence increases exponentially and their anxiety diminishes.
Aqua therapy is tightly linked to the Movement Therapy program in the gym. Both programs develop similar foundational elements including focus, social interaction, balance and coordination, range of motion, strength and posture. Children do not need to be registered in the gym component of Empowering Steps Movement Therapy to enroll in aqua therapy. As an added benefit, the warm water relaxes the muscles, reducing spasticity in children with Cerebral Palsy, while providing a variable resistance to build strength, endurance, and lung capacity in a fun, safe and playful environment.
Children with a wide range of developmental disorders have the capacity to learn how to swim. Being successful in this important life skill will build confidence and independence, empowering them for further success and independence in their daily lives.