Strengthening: Negotiating the water requires your child to use all of his/her muscles. Your child’s core, arms and legs, will become stronger while playing against the resistance naturally provided by the water.
Coordination: Swimming requires a lot of coordination! While each stroke is different, they all require simultaneous movement from your child’s arms and legs in many different combinations: symmetrical, asymmetrical, in-phase, out-of-phase, contralateral and ipsilateral. As your child moves through the water using arms and/or legs with various fun floatation devices, he/she will learn how to coordinate multiple movements in multiple body parts at the same time, which is fundamental to coordination and motor planning.
Sensory input: Swimming is a great way to get a lot of powerful sensory input in a short amount of time. The water itself provides deep pressure input to the whole body at once. The constant sensation of the water can help to decrease the tactile hypersensitivity that your child may experience out of the water. The water also provides proprioceptive input, which boosts body awareness and the sense of body position in space. Changing the position of your child’s head when swimming on the back, front, side, vertically and under water provides vestibular input, which also contributes to the sense of body position in space. Touch, proprioception and vestibular input are the building blocks of motor planning.
Social skills and communication: Eye contact and vocalization are often enhanced because of the sensory properties of the water and the natural boundaries of the pool.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call our office at 201-837 9993 to explore whether pool-based occupational therapy is appropriate for your child.