Most people who are outside the world of therapy may have presuppositions about aquatic therapy that hold no water (pun intended). My name is Cameron Baird, and as the new office manager for Aquatic Therapy University, I got to challenge my own assumptions about what aquatic therapy is really like. I attended my first pediatric aquatic therapy class this past weekend and got to explore this new world for the first time. I began to figure out that there is more to it than just moving around in a pool.
The class started in a traditional setting, with a projector displaying examples and students sitting at their desks to take notes. For an outsider, hearing the details and all the considerations one must observe as an aquatic therapist was fascinating. The passion that each student had for their patients was incredible. Every lesson learned in class was discussed on a practical level, using real examples of patients with whom the students worked.
However, the nature of aquatic therapy demands hands-on time, and the students moved into the pool for the second half of the day. The students learned and created different activities that could help various needs. Each activity was broken down and discussed on a smaller scale. Could you incorporate storytelling into an activity to make it more engaging? How could you use your resources to create a game that would both interest and help your patients?
I also got to hear first-hand how pools can be used for pediatric physical therapy, occupational therapy, and even speech therapy. Each student had their own interpretation of the class materials, explaining to the rest of the class how they would personally interpret activities into their own therapy sessions. Could a bath blanket become a slithering snake, hissing while it swirled through the water? How could you modify an activity to make it more or less challenging for different-abled patients?
Although I didn’t know what to expect to see as an outside observer watching an aquatic therapy class, watching the wheels turn in the mind of each student while they tried to think of how best to apply each activity to their profession made me appreciate the flexible nature of aquatic therapy. These therapists truly cared about making people better, and the pool was their tool to do that. Even as someone who had never experienced aquatic therapy before, watching them learn and work in the pool demonstrated to me their enthusiasm and love of what they do.
As the year progresses, I hope to get to experience more of the incredible zeal that the instructors and students at Aquatic Therapy University have for both their patients and aquatic therapy as a whole. I look forward to learning more from all of you.