Caitlyn Menard, BS, OT/S; Kyla Campbell, BS, OT/S

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Publication Date



Aquatic therapy interventions facilitate engagement in play participation for children with cerebral palsy (CP) by strengthening the child's motor skills. Reviewers analyzed how aquatic therapy interventions enhance engagement in play participation through motor function for children with CP and addressed the significance of aquatic therapy program development. Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines were utilized throughout this systematic review. All studies were peer-reviewed, included children with CP ages 0-13, included either aquatic therapy interventions utilizing motor tasks or had outcomes related to increased play participation, and were published after January 1, 2013. Eight articles met inclusion criteria: five Level II randomized-control trials (RCT), one Level IV cross-sectional study, and two Level V qualitative studies. Findings support the use of aquatic therapy to improve motor functioning and play participation. This is relevant as children with CP have decreased capacities to perform land-based activities, specifically regarding play and motor functioning. Aquatic therapy interventions can be utilized to overcome these potential barriers as advocating for program development, access to care, and conducting research on outcome measures is beneficial. Occupational therapy practitioners can increase engagement in play participation and quality of life for children with CP by utilizing aquatic therapy intervention.

Faculty Mentor

Tania Rosa, O.T.D., OTR/L

Academic Discipline

College of Health & Wellness



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