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Aquatic Therapy can be a great venue for promoting physical and social development of individuals with Fragile X Syndrome. Aquatic exercise can help stimulate fine and gross motor developmental patterns, assist with strength development, challenge a child's coordination and balance, as well as promote sensory integration of novel sensations, skills and movements.

Aquatic programs should take into consideration the following guidelines:

  • The individual with Fragile X Syndrome may be sensory defensive and, as such, may require several sessions to grow accustomed to the aquatic environment. >
  • Individuals with Fragile X tend to learn best with strong visual cues, and whole world, number and pattern recognition. >
  • The individual with Fragile X often has very strong imitation skills.  Aquatic competency can be enhanced by pairing the swimmer with a buddy who will demonstrate.
  • The swimmer needs to participate in structured activities that are predictable.
    • A routine is vital.
  • Work sessions need to be limited to 30 minutes.
    • Alternate work and "fun" times to address short attention span.
  • As much as possible in the aquatic environment, minimize auditory and visual distractions.
  • Involve the family, whenever possible, in the aquatic experience so skills learned will be used in community-based experiences and family outings to the pool or beach.
  • Careful consideration must be given any medications the individual is using.

This content was created by Andy Harris, Physical Therapy Student
at Texas Woman's University,
as part of requirements for
"Aquatics for Special Populations", Huettig, Summer, 1999.

page last updated 1/2/2013 4:34 PM