09 Nov 2017

Hydrotherapy: What Are The Benefits For Autism?

Hydrotherapy: What Are The Benefits For Autism?

There are more autistic people in the UK than many people realise; there are 700,000 people in the UK on the autistic spectrum, which means that one person out of every 100 people has autism. If you include the families of people in this statistic, there are over 2.8 million people in the UK whose daily lives are impacted by autism.

Autism spectrum disorders impact different people in varying ways; from problems with communication and developmental delays to behavioural issues and cognitive disabilities. Because every person on the autistic spectrum is different, there are a range of different management options to choose from, from behavioural therapies to medications - there are various options to choose from.

Of all the treatment options out there, one of the most effective options is hydrotherapy, which uses water to benefit children with autism in a way that other therapies cannot. Bearing that in mind, the question is: what are the benefits of hydrotherapy for autism?

It’s good exercise

Regular exercise and physical activity is as important for children with autism as it is for children without it, which is one reason why hydrotherapy is so beneficial for autistic children. For many children with autism, getting adequate exercise can be difficult due to a lack of motivation, motor impairments, or a lack of self-esteem.

Studies have shown that children with autism have a higher chance of becoming overweight, compared to children without autism, which is what makes hydrotherapy an even more important therapy for autistic children. Hydrotherapy can help to keep children with autism, and adults too, physically fit and healthy, reducing their risk of becoming overweight.

Hydrotherapy can improve social behaviours

Many children who are on the autistic spectrum struggle to socialise, finding it difficult to connect and communicate with other people. Because hydrotherapy means working with another person - the therapist - as well as other children with autism, it can help to improve social behaviours in autistic children. It can offer children on the autistic spectrum a structured approach to forming bonds with others, and learning social skills, while in a relaxed state.

Research has shown that aerobic exercise, like swimming, for instance, has been proved to help reduce negative behaviours in kids with autism. These behaviours include things like object tapping, humming, rocking, spinning, and head-nodding. The issue with these kinds of behaviours is that they can hinder normal social interaction, and by reducing them, it can be easier for kids with autism to socialise with others their own age.

It can aid sensory processing disorders

Many people on the autistic spectrum also suffer from sensory processing disorders. What this means is that children with autism can often struggle with a sensory overload, when one or more of the body’s senses experience over-stimulation from the environment. The good news is, however, that the sensation of water on the body can help to reduce stress caused by sensory processing disorders, calming and soothing children with autism.

Hydrotherapy is a fantastic treatment for people on the autistic spectrum, but that is not to say that it is for everyone. The fact is that when it comes to managing autism, it’s important to find what works for each individual person, which is why some therapies are effective for some people and ineffective for others.

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