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Aquatic therapy interventions are critical for individuals with disabilities and the role of the therapist is just as critical for successful and effective interventions. The field of therapeutic recreation trains students to develop and implement evidence-based facilitation techniques including the use of aquatic therapy to assist in helping clients achieve a change in functional status. This review of the literature examined the impact of aquatic therapy interventions on a variety of disabilities including osteoarthritis, multiple sclerosis, Cerebral palsy, autism spectrum disorder, and mental health from a recreational therapy (RT) perspective. This review provides a variety of information on the positive benefits that may occur using aquatic therapy for diverse conditions. Examples include relaxation, stretching, and aerobic exercise and each has the ability to improve strength. It does appear that aquatic therapy interventions can provide a wide array of benefits that may reduce the burden associated with a variety of disabilities. These benefits may be useful in increasing the overall quality of life of a diverse group of disabilities. Likewise, due to the nature of RT, recreational therapists are in a unique position to provide plan and develop aquatic therapy interventions. However, it is the authors’ suggestion that those providing this service attend intensive training in order to provide aquatic therapy effectively. Additional research may be necessary to provide a more cohesive understanding of the impact of aquatic therapy on a variety of populations. Nonetheless, the information gleamed from this review, justify that aquatic therapy has benefits for a diverse clientele and thus may be useful in the implementation of RT programs.

Scott_IJARE_Final_revisions 3.21.2020.docx (56 kB)
APA changes accepted and missing references added