Among the range of interventions, one unique and very successful alternative for individuals with autism is aquatic therapy. Water activities provide autistic children with proprioceptive and tactile input. Children with Autism have significant sensory difficulties, and are very distractible. These children over or under react to stimuli in their environment and have very strong reactions to certain textures. The warm water provides a safe and supported environment, which not only supports the children, but also provides them with hydrostatic pressure that surrounds their body in the water. This pressure actually soothes and calms the children, providing the necessary sensory input they crave. Research continues to support the concept that water is the ideal medium in which to exercise or rehabilitate the body. Water provides an environment that reduces body weight by 90%, decreasing stress or impact on the body. Warm water also reduces spasticity and relaxes muscles.
For children with Autism aquatic therapy can focus on therapeutic play-based functional movement, improving range of motion, helping to facilitate neurodevelopmental growth, improved body awareness, increased balance, sensory integration, mobility skills and most importantly, having fun.