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Children with Disabilities Hydrotherapy in Ukraine

by Dzherelo Children's Rehabilitation Centre
Children with Disabilities Hydrotherapy in Ukraine
Children with Disabilities Hydrotherapy in Ukraine
Children with Disabilities Hydrotherapy in Ukraine
Children with Disabilities Hydrotherapy in Ukraine
Children with Disabilities Hydrotherapy in Ukraine
Children with Disabilities Hydrotherapy in Ukraine
Children with Disabilities Hydrotherapy in Ukraine
Children with Disabilities Hydrotherapy in Ukraine

Although COVID-19 has closed most of the world, social distancing is still in place at Dzherelo Centre in Lviv, Ukraine as operations are closed for youth. Instead, youth are enjoying interactions with teachers and therapists through online meeting platforms, social media contacts, and phone calls. Teachers are busy planning the future. Therapists are making plans for new interventions. The Development Team is seeking new viable funding sources. Dzherelo Centre is optimisitc that operations will return stronger than ever once this global crisis has abated. 

In the meantime, here are a few resources to use with your young ones...

Here are a few links to news article related to Ukraine's struggle with COVID-19....

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We are in a different world with COVID-19 happening globally. Schools are closed, businesses quiet, and people remaining socially distanced. Dzherelo Centre, too, is on quarantine in Ukraine. This pandemic not only affects adults, but our kids too. How you get through this pandemic will teach children and youth how to be resilient and cope with scary situations. We wish you all health and safety during these uncharted and unprecedented times.

Here's a few resources that may help the kids in your lives with positive skills, coping strategies, and learning opportunities....


This is a link to the Easterseals Illinois Autism Partnership with activities for special needs children:


75 Calm Down Strategies for kids:


In Home Physical Activities and Brain Breaks from Integrated Learning Strategies:


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Dzherelo Centre’s children and youth have continued to enjoy the benefits of Hydrotherapy exercises. A few parents have begun to assist the physical therapist in the water in an effort to improve parent-child relationships and to practice movements, so repetition can happen at home as well. 

According to “ Paediatric Hydrotherapy Service,” Hydrotherapy is a form of physical therapy which makes use of the natural buoyancy, heat and resistance of water to help bring about a number of therapeutic effects. Your child does not need to be able to swim and the sessions are one on one ensuring your child’s safety at all times.

A physiotherapist will first complete an in-depth assessment on dry land to diagnose the problem, plan the treatment and to evaluate the child’s suitability and safety within the pool. Depending on the child’s condition and symptoms, different treatments will be included in the pool. Treatments may address:

  • Balance
  • Proprioceptive Exercises
  • Range of Movement
  • Soft Tissue Treatment
  • Strengthening Exercises
  • Core Stability Exercises
  • Mobility
  • Relaxation
  • Stretching

Nicky Pither, a physiotherapist at RNIB Pears Centre for Specialist Learning, defines how hydrotherapy can benefit children and young people with disabilities and health conditions:

  • Hydrotherapy offers tangible benefits to the health and wellbeing of children and young people with a range of disabilities and health conditions:
  • The warmth of the water has an effect on the individual neuromuscular connections which results in decreased muscle tone and decreased spasticity.
  • Buoyancy of the water is used to assist movement of joints. 
  • Movement in the water and water pressure helps to reduce residual lung capacity for children and young people with chest problems. This enables more efficient lung function and reduces the risk of chest infections developing.
  • Creating turbulence around an extremity (i.e. arm or leg) can increase their awareness of the limb and help with mobility.
  • Multi-sensory environment helps stimulate the senses whilst calming children with sensory and learning difficulties.

Thanks to donors and team members this helpful program remains as a support to families of youth with special needs in Ukraine. 


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68 lessons in the Hydrotherapy pool for October and November 2019! This means that 68 Hydrotherapy Sessions built muscle strength, improved self-esteem, and created new relationships between child and therapist. 

68 forty-five minute sessions of relaxation, literally reaching new goals by stretching arms and legs, focusing brains in a new way.  These hydrotherapy sessions are helping children with special needs develop new pathways of health, connection, and self-confidence in their bodies. 

Dzherelo Center, in Lviv Ukraine, continues to develop new programming and rehabilitation services for children with special needs. With new laws enacted that are supportive of the disabilities communities, Dzherelo looks forward to serving children, but needs financial assistance to do so. The centre is serving 200 youth everyday with rehabilitation and education lessons. They use the wheelchair repair workshop to customize each mobility aid. One component of treatment is the Hydrotherapy Pool and working with the physical therapist. We are proud of this program. More importantly, we are proud of the youth who grow and learn everyday.


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Staff Planning Meeting, including Physical Therapy
Staff Planning Meeting, including Physical Therapy

Nazar* recently began to work with the Hydrotherapy Program at Dzherelo Centre. He is 13 years old and uses a wheelchair. He is particularly fond of heavy metal music! He shares his joy with the physical therapist and his mom, who are both in the pool with him. He has learned to float and relax in the water. He still struggles with moving his feet, but has fun learning to kick. The Hydrotherapy sessions have helped him bond with his mom as well. 


Dzherelo’s Hydrotherapy Program is up and running after the summer break. All the equipment was cleaned and repaired, if needed. It’s serving the children with special needs in Lviv and it’s a unique opportunity for them to explore what their bodies can do in the pool. The children seem to most enjoy learning how to throw (move their arms) and kick (strengthen their legs), but usually end the sessions by floating. 


The Hydrotherapy Program has been used by numerous families as parents have begun to join the sessions, too. This new type of family time creates improved self-esteem, fills a genuine parent-child relationship need, and motivates healthy lifestyles. Working alongside the physical therapist, parents get to model communication and learn new ways to work with their children. 


Dzherelo continues to be appreciative of the community support is receives daily. Thank you for being a part of the Dzherelo Family. 


*Name changed to protect confidentiality.


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Organization Information

Dzherelo Children's Rehabilitation Centre

Location: Lviv - Ukraine
Facebook: Facebook Page
Project Leader:
Christina Taylor
Lviv, Lviv Ukraine

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