When people think of aquatic therapy, also known as water therapy, they normally focus on the rehabilitation of physical injuries. While it can be very effective in the treatment of such injuries, aquatic therapy can also be beneficial to those children who may have developmental delays, including those associated with blindness.
Some blind children may not be as active as their peers. This can lead to a condition called hypotonia, which refers to a lack of muscle tone. When the body is immersed in water, the effects of gravity are less pronounced. This can make physical activity more comfortable while also promoting the development of additional muscle.
Water also provides a natural form of resistance. By requiring more effort to move within the pool, additional muscle tone and development is a natural side effect.
It can also provide a safer environment, as there is no significant physical risks due to a fall. This means that the child can learn to move more confidently without some of the inherent risk of exercising on the ground.
Processing Proprioceptive Input and Developmental Coordination Disorder
Visually impaired children may have trouble receiving the feedback necessary to understand how their body is moving through space. This can lead to injuries as they try to find objects on which to gauge their location. However, the use of water can provide the physical sensations necessary to learn to move within ones environment. The slight pressure and shifting resistance allow them to feel how each movement is performed by different parts of the body, while providing a basis for relating movements to each other.
This can be especially effective for those diagnosed with Developmental Coordination Disorder.
Similar to the coordination issues mentioned above, blind children can have difficulties relating to directional cues. The concepts of up and down can be hard to grasp, and they may have issues identifying slight shifts in posture that result in leaning to one side or the other. Aquatic therapy provides a reference point for their position, allowing them to connect a sensation to the idea.
When done in warm water, aquatic therapy can be quite relaxing. Tense muscles can release, and the constant, even pressure can be soothing. This can increase circulation while also lowering blood pressure.
At Home Therapy
While professional aquatic therapy is available, some of the benefits can be experienced at home as well. For relaxation, a simple bath may provide a way to escape from tense muscles while also providing comfortable pressure across the body. If you have the space, you can install a swimming pool on your property. Whether you want a simple concrete plunge pool or an in-ground option, pools are available in a wide range of sizes and shapes. Heating your pool may even be an option depending on its location and your budget.
Older children may enjoy an occasional soak in a hot tub if the temperature is set properly. You also want to make sure they do not spend too much time in the water, and that they remain properly hydrated. However, it is important to note that they are not recommended for children under the age of five.
Regardless of the source of the water, it is important to remain vigilante of your child’s safety, especially if they are struggling with muscle or coordination issues.…