Dimitrijevic (2012) The Effect of Aquatic Intervention on the Gross Motor Function and Aquatic Skills in Children with Cerebral Palsy

Introduction to Aquatic Intervention in CP

Cerebral Palsy (CP) stands as a prevalent physical disability in childhood, characterized by movement and postural disorders due to early brain damage. Physical therapy, including aquatic interventions, plays a vital role in managing CP by leveraging the unique properties of water to aid in movement and reduce joint stress. This study delves into the impact of aquatic intervention on enhancing gross motor function and aquatic skills in children with CP.

Methodology and Participant Profile

The study involved 29 children with CP, aged between 5 to 14 years, divided into an experimental group (EG) undergoing aquatic intervention and a control group (CG) without intervention. The aquatic sessions were designed to improve safety, functional independence in water, and were conducted twice a week for 6 weeks, with each session lasting 55 minutes. The Gross Motor Function Measure (GMFM) and Water Orientation Test Alyn 2 (WOTA 2) were used to assess motor function and aquatic skills, respectively.

Findings: Impact on Motor Function and Aquatic Skills

Post-intervention, the EG demonstrated significant improvements in both GMFM scores and aquatic skills as measured by WOTA 2, indicating enhanced gross motor function on land and in water. However, these improvements in dry-land motor skills were not sustained in the follow-up period, suggesting the need for ongoing physical activity to maintain gains. In contrast, aquatic skills improvements were maintained, highlighting the lasting impact of aquatic intervention.

Conclusion: The Significance of Aquatic Intervention

The study underscores the efficacy of aquatic intervention in fostering motor function and aquatic skills in children with CP. While short-term interventions show promise, they underline the importance of continuous engagement in physical activities to preserve and enhance motor function improvements. Aquatic activities not only offer therapeutic benefits but also contribute to the psycho-social well-being of children with CP, advocating for their inclusion in comprehensive management strategies.

Keywords: Cerebral Palsy, Aquatic Intervention, Gross Motor Function, Aquatic Skills, Physical Therapy, Children, Motor Function Improvement, Sustainable Improvement, Psycho-social Well-being

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