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Aquatic Therapy


A swimming program for children with special needs

Swimming and water safety are necessary skills for all children. In conjunction with Kings Swim Centre, Wantirna, we have designed a specialised program to help children with a variety of special needs, sensory processing issues and motor coordination difficulties reach their full potential and learn to swim.

Children with Autism

Many children with Autism have sensory issues that impact on their everyday life. Regardless of this, they LOVE the water. The hydrostatic pressure of the water provides a blanket of deep pressure over their largest organ – their skin. This makes them calmer and more receptive to learning.

Aquatic therapy can improve motor planning and coordination, self-regulation, speech and communication, oral motor control, reflex-patterning and even life skills such as getting dressed.

It’s just like normal therapy – but in the pool!

And because all our therapists are swimming teachers, they also include swimming skills and water safety in the program.

Children with movement difficulty

The buoyancy of the water reduces the effects of gravity, poor balance and poor postural control. This allows the child to experience a much greater range of movement that can strengthen muscles, increase flexibility, improve respiratory function and help with general gross motor improvement.

But do they think they are doing all this?….no, it's just playtime in the water!


The assessment process is simple. It starts with filling out a form to give us as much background information as possible. We also ask that you provide any reports you have. The more background information we have the better we can tailor our assessment and program specifically for each child.

Each child then participates in an individual swimming assessment with one of our aquatic therapists. This usually lasts about 15 minutes. During the assessment we evaluate their water confidence, quality of movement, sensory response in the water and swimming skills.

Following that, each child is recommended for one of the following programs:

Individual aquatic therapy

Our Aquatic Therapists are specially trained occupational therapists (OT) and physiotherapists (PT) who recognise the benefits of therapy in the water. Aquatic Therapists can help children become confident in the water and also cultivate new skills and generalize these abilities to their land-based experiences.

Your aquatic therapist will work with you to determine the goals for therapy and develop a program specifically for your child.

All our therapists are qualified swim instructors who include swimming skills and water safety into the program.

Funding: Helping Children with Autism and Better Start Funding; Medicare and private health rebates available.

Aquatic Therapy - Group Program

Group programs are a great way for children to interact with each other, learn social skills, take turns and follow instructions.

Group programs involve placing children with similar issues into small classes with an aquatic therapist. All group programs include an individual component designed to work with each child on their specific goals. The group program achieves the same aims as the individual therapy with the added benefit of social skills.

Funding: Helping Children with Autism and Better Start Funding; Medicare and private health rebates available.

Aquatic Therapy - Parent/child classes

Group classes are run with a qualified Aquatic Therapist (OT or PT) and an assistant, with the parents in the water providing the handling support and therapy for their child. This is a great way to increase your child’s confidence in a new environment, particularly if they initially experience anxiety and fear of the water.

The program includes:
  • Sensory games
  • Coordination/postural control activities
  • Individual swimming skills component of the class (based on your child’s needs)
  • Water safety awareness and skills.

    Once your child is confident (and old enough) they can then progress to aquatic therapy or swimming lessons.

    Funding: Helping Children with Autism and Better Start Funding; Medicare and private health rebates available.

    Swimming lessons

    Often children with special needs find normal swimming lessons overwhelming with all the noise and people.

    We offer individual swimming lesson programs that will assist your child to master each swimming skill. Each swimming lesson follows the same routine. Games and activities are included throughout each session to promote attention and concentration. A communication board with pictures shows the activities and routines that will be followed in the session and a finish box helps the children to transition between activities.

    Each swimming skill is broken down into components to make it easier for your child to learn. Each swimmer receives a special book that monitors their progress. These books break down each swimming skill into achievable steps so your child feels they are always progressing.

    Program Duration Cost
    Individual Aquatic Therapy 30 mins $100
    Group Aquatic Therapy 30 mins $80
    Aquatic Therapy – Parent/Child class 30 mins $45
    Swimming lessons – Individual
    (trained swimming teacher)
    30 mins $55
    Swimming lessons – Group
    (2 children : 1 teacher)
    30 mins $45
    Swimming lessons – Group
    (3 children: 1 teacher)
    30 mins $35