When it comes to delays in development, infants and other small children can be difficult to diagnose and even more difficult to treat. Healthy infant development occurs at a different rate for each child, and since they are pre-verbal precise communication is impossible.
Nevertheless, there are instances where developmental delays in infants can be diagnosed and treated. According to the American Physical Therapy Association, developmental delay is usually diagnosed early when a child misses one or more of the following major milestones:
- 4 months: The child should be able to hold his or her own head up steadily.
- 6 months: The child should be able to sit upright under his or her own strength.
- 12 months: The child should have begun walking.
Motor delays, sensory processing difficulties, and more can all result in a child missing these milestones or exhibiting other symptoms.
Developmental delays are usually diagnosed by a pediatrician, who will often refer to a pediatric physical therapist for further diagnosis and treatment. One popular and effective treatment option for many infants is pediatric aquatic therapy or hydrotherapy.
What Is Aquatic Therapy? What are the Benefits of Aquatic Therapy for Babies?
When small children experience developmental delays, it can often lead to poor muscle tone, coordination, and more. Physical therapy can not only get a child set on the right track toward healthy development, but help to counteract these side-effects as well.
Aquatic therapy is a form of physical therapy that occurs in the water. Water-based therapy offers a number of benefits over that which takes place on dry land:
- Buoyancy: In laymen’s terms, kids float in water. Just as with adults, this reduces the impact of exercise on the joints and increases range of motion.
- Viscosity: Water is more viscous than air, meaning it offers greater resistance when moving through it. Resistance exercise can be invaluable to the development muscle tone and endurance during physical therapy.
- Hydrostatic Pressure: Submersion in water exerts slight pressure on the body, stimulating sensory processing and even offering a sense of snugness and security to some small children.
- Temperature: The warm water utilized during hydrotherapy relaxes muscles, improves circulation, and in many cases may make therapy more effective overall.
Aquatic Therapy for Babies & Toddlers in Connecticut
If you’re in Connecticut and you have a child who you think is exhibiting symptoms of developmental delays, make an appointment with your pediatrician as soon as possible. If your pediatrician recommends a visit to a physical therapist, contact Cheshire Fitness Zone.
With convenient locations in Cheshire and Meriden, Cheshire Fitness Zone is one of the only clinics in the state dedicated to pediatric physical therapy. Specializing in physical therapy (PT), occupational therapy (OT) and speech therapy (ST), Cheshire Fitness Zone has helped children across the state.
Get in touch to learn more or request an appointment.