Evidence-Based Aquatic Therapy for the Pediatric Client

July 22-23, 2017

Leave this dynamic course understanding how, when, where and under what circumstances to provide aquatic therapy… and how to justify that choice to the world. Don't just understand the science; be able to perform the EBAT treatments on Monday morning. Course includes information designed to help parents and caregivers incorporate water-based interventions into daily life. Includes "turn key" inservice and marketing materials to help expand your caseload.

Course Objectives

  • List the indications and precautions in the use of Aquatic Sensory Integration (ASI), Watsu®, the Bad Ragaz Ring Method, aquatic adaptations of balance tests, flow-through mat work, games, and functional skills training for the pediatric patient populations. Demonstrate an understanding of the underlying principles behind each aquatic therapy treatment approach (lecture, lab)
  • Understand the unique benefits of the aquatic environment, and use aquatic therapy techniques to increase strength, improve ROM, improve oral motor skills, normalize sensory input (vestibular, visual, auditory, tactile, proprioceptive), normalize tone, improve head and trunk righting, encourage play, verbalization and social interaction, improve posture, weight-bearing, balance, gait and proprioception, normalize transitional movements (lab)
  • Create a cohesive evidence-based argument supporting the use of aquatic therapy for the pediatric patient. Make appropriate aquatic therapy treatment choices (using the APTA's Guide to Physical Therapy Practice as a springboard) (lecture, lab)
  • Be able to locate and summarize evidence-based research to further address why aquatic therapy could be appropriate. Create supportive bibliographies using the Aquatic Health Research Database of over 8,000 articles related to aquatic therapy (lecture)
  • Understand in what situations group therapy is appropriate. Understand supervision requirements for aquatic therapy. Understand the need to transition aquatic therapy to land based therapy (lecture)
  • Perform a pediatric inservice for rehab staff or a referring physician using "turn key" aquatic inservice modules provided in class (land lab)
  • Populate websites, brochures and onsite bulletin boards using "turn key" aquatic evidence-based marketing modules provided in class (land lab)
  • Discuss the differing documentation needs of interested parties: physicians, payers and patients. Use documentation to justify providing intervention in an aquatic environment (lecture)
  • Working with a partner, design and implement an evidence-based aquatic progression for 1-2 of the following:
    • Non-progressive neurological disorder (e.g. cerebral palsy)
    • Progressive neurological disorder (e.g. muscular dystrophy, SMA)
    • Pervasive developmental disorder (e.g. autism, Rett Syndrome)
    • Failure-to-thrive and developmental delay
    • Mental retardation
    • Trauma (lab)

Pearland Natatorium
City of Pearland
4141 Bailey Road
Pearland, Tx 77581

Cost -  


Earned credits -  

16 contact hours or CCU’s through TPTA and TOTA


Kathleen (Kiki) Dickinson, MPT

Kathleen (Kiki) Dickinson, MPT graduated from the College of St. Catherine with a master's degree in physical therapy. She has worked as a pediatric physical therapist since 1995. Over the last several years her clinic has expanded and developed aquatic therapy programs for adult neuro and ortho populations with an emphasis on individuals with chronic pain and more medically complicated clients. Kiki works at St. Croix Therapy (Therapeutic Services for Children and Adults) in Hudson, Wisconsin and has 17 years of experience developing and implementing therapy programs for a diverse pediatric population which includes working with children of all ages including the birth-to-three population.

For more than seven years, Kiki has devoted one day per week in the SNF/TCU setting working with the geriatric and general debilitation population. Her caseload featured a high concentration of patients with psychological issues, including schizophrenia, and a full unit of patients on ventilators. Kiki has over 15 years of on call experience in a high-level acute care setting, with both pediatric and adult patients (University of Minnesota Hospital). Kiki is certified in the Universal Exercise Unit/Therasuit Method and Craniosacral Therapy. She has been an adjunct professor at St. Catherine's University for over ten years and teaches pediatric coursework for their Physical Therapy Assistant Program. Kiki helped develop ATU's novel "Aquatic Therapy for the Speech Therapist" class in 2010. This first-of-its-kind class combined a positioning lab (taught by PT) with a speech & language skills (taught by a SLP). It appears to be the first class to be granted ASHA CEU credits. Kiki teaches custom seminars across the USA for Aquatic Therapy University with an emphasis on the neuro pediatric and adult populations.


Day 1 (Tentative Schedule)

8:00-8:30 Registration
8:30-12:00 Lecture
12:00-1:00 Lunch (provided)
1:00-3:45 Pool lab
3:40-4:00 Energy break
4:00-6:00 Pool lab


Hampton Inn Pearland
6515 Broadway St.
Pearland, Tx 77581

Contact: Nancy Werner


Angela Dumas