Jul 31, 2018

Hydrotherapy Progress Report

Hydrotherapy in Action
Hydrotherapy in Action

Since March 2018, there were 68 classes and 12 kids in the hydrotherapy program. Parents reported that the children were stronger and building trust with the physical therapists. Children were stretching further and advocating for themselves in sessions. The therapists are describing that the children have less fear, seem more relaxed, and are practicing new movements. The relationships the parents develop with hydrotherapists are reflecting changes in parenting needed to support the children's growth. The children at Dzherelo Centre have continued to grow, build new trust, and feel better physically and mentally after the hydrotherapy sessions. Lviv, Ukraine is very lucky to have this program. All in all, Good things are happening!!! Thank you for your continued support. 

Jun 19, 2018

Jump on in, The water is fine!

Hydrotherapy session in Action
Hydrotherapy session in Action

Thanks to our donors the Dzherelo Children’s Rehabilitation Centre’s Hydrotherapy pool has been providing a sneaky physical therapy as the children don’t realize they are working while enjoying themselves. We have served many children in the last three months. Our two hydrotherapists have been spending 40 minutes per session with each child. The new “toys,” like swim caps and floats are in use. Thanks to all of the donors who are making this possible for children with special needs in Ukraine. 

The children sometimes begin their sessions reluctantly, but by the end of their course, they are often jumping in and ready to try things on their own. Children are kicking to strengthen legs, reaching to build gross motor skills, and splashing and dripping water from their fingers to improve fine motor control. The children are learning how to trust others and interact with the therapist under the watchful eyes of a caregiver.

One grandfather, Ivan*, commented that he hadn’t seen his 4-year-old grandson, Petro*, react to therapy with joy before trying the hydrotherapy. They know physical therapy can be difficult as muscles need to be used and stretched, but the water takes away some of the tension and provides a playful atmosphere that is less intimidating. Often his grandson is timid and hesitant, but he found a good relationship with the therapist and seems to enjoy the warm water. 

Oksana*, a mother, often sits outside the pool area, but watches through the window because her 8-year-old son, Viktor*, is trying to be more independent. Although she is supportive of his growth, she anxiously awaits to see it in action through his improved grasp and assertiveness with his treatment. Oksana is his biggest cheerleader, while the therapist is his second.

Please consider supporting the hydrotherapy project as this is an important component of children’s physical therapy regimens at Dzherelo Children’s Rehabilitation Centre. The pool has been the highlight of physical therapy programming, yet it is an expensive endeavor. The more donations we receive, the more children can experience the joy of relief through hydrotherapy. Thank you for your time and consideration. 

* Names changed to protect confidentiality. 


Mar 22, 2018

Research for Hydrotherapy for Children with Autism

There is more research supporting the goodness of water and exercise for calming behaviors and improving social skills in children with Autism. 


Mortimer, Rachel & Privopoulos, Melinda & Kumar, Saravana. (2014). The effectiveness of hydrotherapy in the treatment of social and behavioral aspects of children with autism spectrum disorders: A systematic review. Journal of multidisciplinary healthcare. 7. 93-104. 10.2147/JMDH.S55345.

Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are increasing in prevalence. Children with ASDs present with impairments in social interactions; communication; restricted, repetitive, and stereotyped patterns of behavior, interests, or activities; as well as motor delays. Hydrotherapy is used as a treatment for children with disabilities and motor delays. There have been no systematic reviews conducted on the effectiveness of hydrotherapy in children with ASDs.
We aimed to examine the effectiveness of hydrotherapy on social interactions and behaviors in the treatment of children with ASDs.

A systematic search of Cochrane, CINAHL, PsycINFO, Embase, MEDLINE®, and Academic Search Premier was conducted. Studies of participants, aged 3-18 years, with ASDs at a high-functioning level were included if they utilized outcome measures assessing social interactions and behaviors through questionnaire or observation. A critical appraisal, using the McMaster Critical Review Form for Quantitative Studies, was performed to assess methodological quality.
Four studies of varying research design and quality met the inclusion criteria. The participants in these studies were aged between 3-12 years of age. The duration of the intervention ranged from 10-14 weeks, and each study used varied measures of outcome. Overall, all the studies showed some improvements in social interactions or behaviors following a Halliwick-based hydrotherapy intervention.
Few studies have investigated the effect of hydrotherapy on the social interactions and behaviors of children with ASDs. While there is an increasing body of evidence for hydrotherapy for children with ASDs, this is constrained by small sample size, lack of comparator, crude sampling methods, and the lack of standardized outcome measures. Hydrotherapy shows potential as a treatment method for social interactions and behaviors in children with ASDs.


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