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Archive > Year 2016, Number 1

The effectiveness of Aquatic therapy environment on upper limb function performance with specifically advanced sitting modification instrument for children with severe cerebral palsy


Shelef Niv


The aim is to investigate the effectiveness of the innovative "partial immersion" aquatics approach in enhancing sitting adaptation during daily function in children with cerebral palsy. Aquatic learned skills during unloading, transferred toward a land-loading environment in an adjustable weight bearing series of 30-millimeter steps. Mixed methods utilizing a multiple case study approach (n=5), tested at baselines 1 and 2 and at a 12-month follow-up point. The used research methods are: sitting assessment for children with neuromotor dysfunction, gross motor function measure manual and focused Interviews. They suggest that all participants experienced adaptation improvement in function of activities of daily living skills and task movement during free sitting on land, and at a 12-month follow-up assessment. Water intervention treatments achieved the most efficient results, while combined water-land treatments achieved the highest results (but with the highest amount of treatment time); the land-only intervention achieved the lowest results. The uniquely developed Partial Immersion Aquatic Approach treatment enabled a functional adaptation from water towards land, by improvement in activities of daily living skills and task movement, and incorporated hand-head coordination during free sitting on land for children with CP. The success was retained at the follow-up assessment 12 months after intervention.


Aquatic therapy, cerebral palsy, function, sitting, gravity

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