Weightlessness In Water Is Making an Impact

There is something magical about the weightless feeling of floating in a pool, letting the water carry you effortlessly. It’s a reprieve from Earth’s gravity and it’s in the water where you are allowed to utilize your body in different ways.

A pool offers a unique environment for a wide range of therapeutic activities and benefits making it an ideal setting for therapy to occur. It’s not even necessary to have an Olympic-sized pool with expensive technology to obtain positive outcomes. Even in a basic, heated pool, therapists can provide meaningful, personalized treatment that is based on each individual’s needs.

It was exactly those positive outcomes that the Children’s Clinics’ rehabilitation team strove for when they launched the Aquatic Therapy program two and a half years ago. Despite the slight setback with the pandemic, the program has been moving forward steadily and the benefits of the program are being fully realized.

Some of the children that have benefited most are the kids who can’t move on land. When there’s less weight to carry, joints and muscles tend to move more easily. This buoyancy is the ultimate platform to be able to access any part of the body. The ease of movement buoyancy allows, and the gentle resistance being in water provides, are used in activities that help achieve therapy goals.

“Right now, they’ve been in the pool for eight weeks (a typical session), and they’re more confident in their movements and have better body awareness,” said Rafael “Ricky” Figueroa, a physical therapist at Children’s Clinics. “We’re very proud of that whole body input that the water provides. It’s easier to know where your legs and arms are in that space (water). So then when we translate that to land, it’s there. And ultimately, that’s our whole goal is to have this translate to the land because unfortunately, we don’t live in the water.”

Aqua therapy is not prescribed for every patient. A team of physical therapists, occupational therapists, and speech and language pathologists at Children’s Clinics take into consideration many factors before assigning this specific therapy to patients. However, for those patients who do experience aquatic therapy, the impact is significant. The warm, buoyant water allows the individual to feel free and lightweight by reducing body weight by up to 90%. Children that are normally chair-bound can move freely in the water allowing a freedom they normally wouldn’t experience on land.

Other benefits of Aqua Therapy are plentiful. The act of just kicking across the pool helps with an increased range of motion, improves muscle strength, and enhances cardiovascular fitness. In addition, the act of merely being in the pool boosts balance and coordination, helps with social interaction, and overall increases confidence and self-esteem. Even the heated water of the pool promotes muscle relaxation and has a calming effect on the body and mind.

Aquatic therapy may be nontraditional, but its benefits and outcomes are impactful and worth pursuing for patients. Plus, it is a fulfillment of Children’s Clinics’ mission to provide exceptional care even if it occurs in a wet and weightless environment.

Benefits of Adaptive Arts for Children

Adaptive arts, which refer to art forms and activities that are tailored to accommodate individuals with varying abilities and needs, offer numerous benefits for children. These benefits can extend to children with disabilities, neurodiverse traits, or other unique circumstances. Here are some of the key advantages of adaptive arts for children:

  1. Inclusivity and Participation: Adaptive arts programs create an inclusive environment where children of all abilities can participate and express themselves. This promotes a sense of belonging and community, helping children feel valued and respected.
  2. Enhanced Communication: For children who may struggle with traditional communication methods, adaptive arts provide an alternative means of self-expression. Through visual arts, music, dance, or other creative activities, children can communicate their thoughts, emotions, and ideas more effectively.
  3. Motor Skill Development: Adaptive arts activities can be designed to support the development of fine and gross motor skills. Engaging in activities like painting, sculpting, or playing musical instruments can help children improve their coordination, dexterity, and muscle control.
  4. Sensory Integration: Many children with sensory processing challenges benefit from adaptive arts activities that engage their senses in controlled and enjoyable ways. These activities can help children better process sensory input, leading to improved self-regulation and overall sensory integration.
  5. Emotional Regulation: Engaging in creative arts can serve as a therapeutic outlet for children to express and regulate their emotions. Artistic activities provide a safe space for children to explore and process their feelings, reducing stress and anxiety.
  6. Boosted Self-Esteem: Adaptive arts programs focus on each child’s unique strengths and abilities, fostering a sense of accomplishment and pride. As children see their creations take shape and receive positive feedback, their self-esteem and confidence can significantly improve.
  7. Cognitive Development: Artistic activities stimulate cognitive processes such as problem-solving, critical thinking, and imaginative exploration. Through adaptive arts, children can enhance their cognitive skills while enjoying a fun and engaging experience.
  8. Social Interaction: Adaptive arts programs often involve group activities, which can improve social skills and peer interactions. Children can work collaboratively, share ideas, and learn from one another in a supportive environment.
  9. Cultural Awareness: Exposure to various art forms can introduce children to different cultures, traditions, and ways of thinking. This exposure promotes empathy, tolerance, and a broader understanding of the world around them.
  10. Creative Thinking: Engaging in adaptive arts encourages children to think outside the box, develop their creativity, and embrace their individuality. This skill set can benefit them across various aspects of life and learning.
  11. Personalized Learning: Adaptive arts programs can be tailored to the specific needs and preferences of each child. This personalized approach allows for more effective and engaging learning experiences.
  12. Parent and Caregiver Engagement: Adaptive arts activities can be enjoyed by children and their parents or caregivers together. This shared experience can strengthen relationships, create lasting memories, and foster a deeper understanding of each child’s abilities.

In summary, adaptive arts provide children with a wide range of physical, emotional, cognitive, and social benefits. By tailoring creative experiences to individual abilities and needs, adaptive arts programs empower children to explore their potential, express themselves, and enjoy the many rewards of artistic engagement.

You can help support Children’s Clinics adaptive recreation programs which include theatre, improv, rock orchestra, and dance. These programs are not covered by insurance, but we believe they are vital to a child’s health and well-being. Please support these programs by donating today!

Benefits of Adaptive Sports for Children

Adaptive sports offer a range of physical, emotional, and social benefits for children with disabilities. These sports are specifically designed to accommodate individual needs and abilities, ensuring that all children can participate and experience the joy of physical activity. Here are some of the benefits of adaptive sports for children:

  1. Physical Health:
    • Improved Strength and Coordination: Adaptive sports help children develop better muscle strength, coordination, and balance through regular physical activity.
    • Cardiovascular Health: Engaging in sports promotes cardiovascular fitness, helping to maintain a healthy heart and circulatory system.
    • Bone Health: Weight-bearing activities in adaptive sports can contribute to better bone density and overall bone health.
    • Motor Skills: Children can enhance their fine and gross motor skills through the various movements and challenges presented by adaptive sports.
  2. Psychological Well-being:
    • Self-Confidence: Participating in sports empowers children by showing them that they can overcome challenges and achieve goals, boosting their self-confidence.
    • Self-Esteem: Success and improvement in adaptive sports can lead to a more positive self-image and higher self-esteem.
    • Stress Relief: Physical activity, including adaptive sports, helps reduce stress and anxiety, promoting mental well-being.
    • Sense of Achievement: Achieving milestones and mastering new skills in sports can provide a sense of accomplishment that positively impacts a child’s emotional state.
  3. Social Interaction:
    • Teamwork: Many adaptive sports involve team activities, fostering collaboration, cooperation, and a sense of belonging.
    • Friendships: Children can build friendships and social connections with peers who share similar interests and experiences in adaptive sports.
    • Communication Skills: Being part of a team or engaging in sports-related activities can improve communication skills and enhance social interactions.
    • Community Involvement: Adaptive sports often bring together a supportive community of families, coaches, and volunteers, creating a supportive network for children and their families.
  4. Inclusion and Acceptance:
    • Promotes Inclusion: Adaptive sports promote inclusivity by providing opportunities for children with disabilities to participate in physical activities alongside their typically developing peers.
    • Educates Others: Inclusive sports help educate the broader community about the capabilities and potential of children with disabilities, promoting acceptance and reducing stigma.
  5. Skill Development:
    • Transferable Skills: Many skills learned in adaptive sports, such as communication, problem-solving, and perseverance, can be applied to other areas of life, including education and employment.
  6. Healthy Lifestyle Habits:
    • Long-Term Benefits: Engaging in adaptive sports from a young age can instill a love for physical activity, encouraging a healthy lifestyle into adulthood.
    • Prevention of Secondary Conditions: Regular physical activity can help prevent secondary conditions associated with certain disabilities, such as obesity and muscle atrophy.

Adaptive sports provide children with disabilities the opportunity to lead active and fulfilling lives, enhancing their physical and emotional well-being while promoting a sense of belonging and achievement.

You can help support Children’s Clinics adaptive recreation programs which include basketball, soccer, tennis, cheer, and dance. These programs are not covered by insurance, but we believe they are vital to a child’s health and well-being. Please support these programs by donating today!

Ten Benefits of Aquatic Therapy

BY: Amy Serafin



Aquatic therapy, also known as hydrotherapy or aquatic rehabilitation, is a form of physical therapy that takes place in a pool or other water-based environment. It offers numerous benefits for children with disabilities, promoting physical, cognitive, and social development. Here are some of the key benefits of aquatic therapy for children with disabilities:

  1. Buoyancy and reduced weight-bearing: Water provides buoyancy, which reduces the effects of gravity on the body. This allows children with disabilities to move more easily, experiencing reduced weight-bearing and less strain on their joints. The water’s buoyancy also helps improve balance and stability.
  2. Increased range of motion: Water’s natural resistance provides gentle pressure against the body, which can help improve muscle strength and flexibility. The buoyancy of water allows children to move their limbs through a wider range of motion, promoting joint mobility.
  3. Improved muscle strength and endurance: Aquatic therapy offers an environment where children can engage in various exercises and activities that target muscle strengthening. Water resistance increases the challenge for muscles, leading to improved strength and endurance over time.
  4. Enhanced cardiovascular fitness: Engaging in water-based exercises helps promote cardiovascular fitness. The resistance of water provides a gentle yet effective workout for the heart and lungs, improving overall cardiovascular health.
  5. Sensory stimulation: Water provides a unique sensory experience with its temperature, texture, and hydrostatic pressure. Aquatic therapy can stimulate the sensory systems of children with disabilities, enhancing their proprioception, tactile awareness, and overall sensory integration.
  6. Pain management: Warm water used in aquatic therapy can help relieve pain and muscle spasms, providing a soothing effect on the body. The hydrostatic pressure of the water can also reduce swelling and inflammation, providing pain relief for children with disabilities.
  7. Balance and coordination improvement: Water’s buoyancy and resistance challenge the body’s balance and coordination systems. By participating in aquatic therapy, children can enhance their balance, coordination, and overall body awareness.
  8. Increased confidence and self-esteem: Aquatic therapy can be a fun and enjoyable experience for children with disabilities. Achieving new physical milestones and experiencing success in the water can boost their confidence and self-esteem, transferring to other aspects of their lives.
  9. Social interaction and peer support: Participating in aquatic therapy often involves group sessions, providing opportunities for children with disabilities to interact with their peers. This social aspect promotes communication, cooperation, and the development of social skills.
  10. Relaxation and stress reduction: Water has a calming effect on the body and mind. Aquatic therapy can help children with disabilities relax, reduce anxiety, and manage stress levels.

Aquatic therapy at Children’s Clinics integrates the unique knowledge, skills, and training of a physical therapist, occupational therapist, and speech and language pathologist to provide rehabilitative services in a pool that are individual to each patient. It’s important to note that the specific benefits of aquatic therapy may vary depending on the individual needs and disabilities of each child. Consulting with one of our physical therapist can help determine if the aquatic therapy program is suitable for a specific patient.