Pediatric Aquatic Therapy for Children with Cerebral Palsy

Pediatric Aquatic Therapy on Motor Function and Enjoyment in Children Diagnosed With Cerebral Palsy of Various Motor Severities, Jun 2014, Taiwan

  1. Lai CJ. from the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Taipei Veterans General Hospital, Taiwan School of Medicine, National Yang-Ming University, Taiwan Graduate Institute of Early Intervention, College of Medicine, Chang Gung University; 
  2. Liu WY. from the Department of Physical Therapy, Chang Gung University; 
  3. Yang TF. from the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Taipei Veterans General Hospital, Taiwan School of Medicine, National Yang-Ming University, Taiwan Department of Physical Therapy and Assistive Technology, National Yang-Ming University; 
  4. Chen CL. from the Graduate Institute of Early Intervention, College of Medicine, Chang Gung University, Taiwan Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Chang Gung Memorial hospital, Linkou; 
  5. Wu CY. from the Department of Occupational Therapy and Graduate Institute of Behavioral Sciences, College of Medicine, Chang Gung University, and Healthy Ageing Research Center at Chang Gung University; 
  6. Chan RC. from the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Taipei Veterans General Hospital, Taiwan School of Medicine, National Yang-Ming University;

This study investigates the effects of paediatric aquatic therapy for children with spastic cerebral palsy of various motor severities. The outcomes examined were:

  • motor function
  • enjoyment
  • activities of daily living
  • health-related quality of life.

Twenty-four children with spastic cerebral palsy age ranging 3-7 y were assigned. Eleven children to a pediatric aquatic therapy group (4 males and 7 females). Thirteen children to a control group (9 males and 4 females).

The statistic results indicate that the pediatric aquatic therapy group had greater average 66-item Gross Motor Function Measure following intervention than the control group (η2 = 0.308, P = .007), even for children with Gross Motor Function Classification System level IV (5.0 vs 1.3).

The pediatric aquatic therapy group had higher Physical Activity Enjoyment Scale scores than the control group at post-treatment (P = .015).

These findings demonstrate that pediatric aquatic therapy can be an effective and alternative therapy for children with cerebral palsy even with poor Gross Motor Function Classification System level.

Reference: PMID: 24907137 [PubMed]