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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 .
  • Who Benefits from Hydrotherapy?

    Everyone can gain from aqua play, however, in SPED, several groups can use it to assist them in their further development and progress, in the interest of ‘normalization’*. Children who can benefit from aqua therapy are those with muscular dystrophy, congential abnormalities, spina bifida, osteogenesis imperfect, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, head injuries, visual impairments, hearing impairments, learning difficulties, balance disorder, hyperkinetic syndrome, perceptual disabilities, neurological impairments and autism (as cited in a study in Patriarca’s paper).


    Presence in the Philippines

    Two NGOs (non-governmental organizations) in collaboration with PTU (the Danish Society of Polio and Accident Victims), have taken the initiative to make this service available even to those who may be considered financially disadvantaged. In 1995, KAMPI and the National Federation of Disabled Persons in the Philippines developed an innovative model of EI through the establishment of Stimulation and Therapeutic Activity Center (STAC). And as of the writing of the report, according to Ilagan, 118 municipalities of 14 different provinces have benefited from these STACs.

    Speciabilities Development Center is a well-known therapy center that offers aqua play therapy and facilities.


    * Note:  Normalization is a term used in SPED to indicate that although some of our students have debilitating conditions, therapists work on giving them a sense of normalcy where they can perform tasks that most normally developing persons take for granted.


    About The Author:

    Frances Mijares-Magtoto has a Master’s Degree in Education from Ateneo de Manila University and is a candidate for a Ph.D. at U.P. Diliman. On days when she is not with her husband and toddler, she can be found at the Graduate School of St. Joseph’s College teaching Special Education majors, or at UP finishing her dissertation.





    • Ilagan, Venus M. (July 2005). Breaking the Barriers: Enabling Children with Disabilities in the Philippines. Retrieved from World Bank Institute on 22 April 2010, http://www.devoutreach.com/july05/SpecialReportBreakingtheBarriers/tabid/908/Default.aspx.
    • Muscular Dystrophy Campaign. (January 2009). Retrieved 12 March 2010, http://www.muscular-dystrophy.org/assets/0000/6646/Hydrotherapy_report.pdf.
    • Patriarca, Marian Christine V. (2010). Utilizing Aqua Play for Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Research Journal in Special Education & Independent Living, 2(1), pp. 34-45.
    • Stimulation Therapeutic Activity Center – Quezon City (STAC). Retrieved 23 April 2010, http://www.mccidonline.net/stac/.


    Photo from flickr.com

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