All parents want what is best for their kids. That statement is never more true than for parents of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Their lives are often consumed with different therapies and treatments all done in an effort to help their child reach their full potential. If that is you, there is one more therapy that you may want to add to your week. Don’t worry, it is one that the whole family can enjoy together… hydrotherapy. Current research is pointing more and more to the amazing benefits of hydrotherapy for children with ASD. Here are just three of the ways that you can use hydrotherapy to help your child.
Sensory Processing Assistance
Many children with ASD suffer from sensory processing challenges. Anything, from the way their clothing feels to the lights or noise level in a room can trigger an adverse reaction. This sensory overload can cause a number of side effects including difficulty in focus and even panic attacks. Using hydrotherapy helps to dull the senses for a time giving the child a break from the near constant sensory overload that they experience. The pressure of the water combined with the gentle warmth helps take the edge off. Water also reflects light and sound differently than airwaves. The way the sound and light is distorted helps to diffuse the intensity for children with autism.
Another common concern for children with ASD is social interaction. It is difficult for them to make eye contact, initiate and even reciprocate conversation. Hot tubs are typically social affairs. Many people from family to friends can enjoy soaking with the child. This offers them opportunities for positive interactions in a calm soothing environment. Because the water has already taken care of the sensory overload, the child is not having to compete with two difficult situations. They can focus on their social skills without sensory complications.
Gross Motor Assistance
Finally, gross motor skills can present a challenge for ASD sufferers. They can have lower muscle tone and reduced strength compared to their peers. The hot tub is a great place to work on these issues. The water creates a resistance so any physical movement that they do in the tub will have added benefit. The buoyancy of the water relieves a lot of the strain so children don’t even realize how hard they are actually working. The soothing environment of the hot tub also makes the gross motor work more enjoyable than many other settings.
How does it work?
You may be wondering how these results are achieved. Study participants typically participated in 2 to 3 sessions per week. Each session lasted approximately 60-90 minutes. Because of the sensitive nature of children and the length of the session, extra caution should be used. The tub should only be heated to 99-100 degrees. Younger children should only soak chest deep and should not fully submerge their shoulders. Parents should always be on the lookout for any signs of overheating.
It almost sounds too good to be true; all of these benefits for just a few hours a week. But, that is what makes hydrotherapy so popular. It is an effective treatment that participants enjoy. If you are ready to bring hydrotherapy to your child come see us right away. We would love to help you find the perfect therapy tub for your family.