Commentary on “Benefits and Enjoyment of a Swimming Intervention for Youth With Cerebral Palsy: An RCT Study”

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“How could I apply this information?”This study may inspire those providing recreational or therapeutic intervention to children with cerebral palsy (CP). Although subjects improved in impairment and activity-based outcomes, they also rated a high level of perceived enjoyment while participating in a swimming program. Swimming is a fun therapeutic activity that may yield better adherence and results when paired with traditional therapy, or when used as the sole intervention. The selected outcomes were sensitive to change over time and may assist therapists with documenting progress for children or justifying therapy services to third-party payors.“What should I be mindful of when applying this information?”Parents of children with disabilities often have difficulty finding a local swim or aquatic program. Clinicians may alleviate this problem by offering an aquatic program or keeping abreast of programs in the community and sharing information with families. It is common for children with CP to feel scared and vulnerable during the first pool session. Every child has a different familiarity with water and each body reacts differently to the buoyancy effects. Therefore, children may require a few sessions before they feel safe and enjoy being in water. In addition to the benefits reported in this study, I have found that children with CP make improvements in lung capacity, voice and cough production, sleeping patterns on the nights after a swim session, and social interactions with peers developing typically. Parents also report that their children have fewer colds.

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