I have read an awful lot about the benefits of Water Therapy for Autism – Grace absolutely loves water and the schools we have looked at for her all have their own therapy pools. I believe that therapists can help children in the initial stages to make the child feel more comfortable, in terms of their sensory needs – temperature, noise etc.
From my research, water is ideal for children with Autism as it can help calm muscles and also help children gauge their own body boundaries a lot better. I guess it creates a sense of freedom and relaxation – it’s harder to have jerking movements in the water.
It is also said that being in the water can also help children with their social skills, as they can learn to engage with their peers and learn to share equipment in the water too. By experiencing cooperative and competitive play, children can develop an increased self-confidence.
Some therapists have reported an improvement in initiating and maintaining eye contact during and after the therapy sessions. I’ve also read that water therapy can also help with a child’s concentration and attention span – something which I am really interested in, as Grace can really struggle with focusing. Water Therapy improves body awareness, while also helping the children to have fun.
A one-on-one session can help children with autism when it comes to impulse control, ability to follow instructions and frustration tolerance. All in all, I think that Water Therapy is definitely something to look into for Grace and many other children with Neuro Diversities.
We have tried to go swimming with Grace on many occasions and it has always ended in tears – hers, usually followed by mine from stress! We have started to look at pools near us that offer therapy sessions – so watch this space, we’ll have to report back!