Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT)


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Michael Atkinson


Child; Hydrotherapy; Neuromuscular Junction Diseases -- therapy


Purpose: The purpose of this literature was to determine the effects aquatic intervention has on children suffering from neuromuscular disorders compared to that of traditional land-based physical and occupational therapy services.

Method: A literature search was conducted using PubMed, OT search, AJOT online, CINAHL, the Mayo Clinic Triage, and various occupational therapy textbooks regarding the use of aquatic therapy in a neuromuscular population. Information was extracted from this literature to generate educational material for parents of child receiving aquatic occupational therapy.

Results: A review of literature presented cerebral palsy as the main neuromuscular disorder of study associated with aquatic therapy. Focus of aquatic therapy aimed at increasing such areas as range of motion, functional mobility, normal movement patterns, and feelings of self worth. A majority of the research found aquatic therapy to be viable and effective intervention method. From the outcome based literature reviewed by the authors, parental education material was developed for the purpose of assisting parents to understand the use, benefits, and outcomes of aquatic therapy for their child. The education literature focused on assisting parents in understanding what occupational therapy is and how it relates to aquatic therapy. With this, the education material prepares the parent and/or child for engagement in aquatic therapy and increases parental insight into the therapeutic processes and outcomes expected from aquatic therapy intervention.

Conclusion: The use of aquatic therapy as an occupation-based treatment method is advantageous for children suffering from neuromuscular disorders for a variety of reasons. Increasing range of motion, an ability to engage in basic activities of daily living, and an improved self image are all outcomes that can be achieved through the use of aquatic occupational therapy. This user-friendly patient education material will promote parental understanding of the benefits and outcomes aquatic occupational therapy can provide for their children that traditional, land-based therapy may not.