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  • Hydrotherapy or Aqua Play: Early Intervention for Children with Special Needs

    What is hydrotherapy and who benefits from it? Our SPED expert, Frances Magtoto, details what goes on in Hydrotherapy.
    by Frances Mijares-Magtoto .
  • Water is the source of life. Without it, humans and other living things would not survive. Hydrotherapy loosely means rehabilitation with the use of water. In some countries, hydrotherapy is seen as a vital part of conventional medicine and patients are reimbursed by health-insurance companies in some of parts of Germany. Within the Philippine SPED context, hydrotherapy (sometimes referred to as aqua play) is usually tapped in the Early Intervention (EI) of children and Rehabilitation services.


    The Benefits of Hydrotherapy

    water therapyHydrotherapy can be categorized as a social rehabilitation service as it can be used to change negative attitudes on disability that the child, family and community may have. According to Venus Ilagan, in her paper, Breaking the Barriers: Enabling Children with Disabilities in the Philippines, one of its benefits is increased mobility, thus, maximizing education opportunities and overall well-being.

    A local experimental study (conducted by Marian Patriarca in 2010) utilized aqua play on children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and found that hydrotherapy enabled the respondents to improve their behavior in 18 aspects:

    1. Give close attention to detail and avoid careless mistakes;
    2. Sustain attention on tasks or play activities;
    3. Listen when spoken to directly;
    4. Follow through on instructions and finish school work or chores;
    5. Organize tasks and activities;
    6. Engage in tasks that require sustained mental effort;
    7. Keep track of things necessary for activities;
    8. Ignore extraneous stimuli;
    9. Remember daily activities;
    10. Control movement of hands or feet or control squirming;
    11. Stay seated;
    12. Minimize inappropriate running or climbing;
    13. Play quietly;
    14. Control constant activity;
    15. Control excess talking;
    16. Control blurting out answers;
    17. Stand in line and take turns; and
    18. Participate into conversations and games without interrupting or intruding.


    Children with ADHD are characterized by inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity which hydrotherapy can address. For more information about children with ADHD, please refer to our related article.


    Click here to read more about the benefits of hydrotherapy and its presence in the Philippines.

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