Splish! Splash! Water therapy at JMCC: A great combination of therapy, social interaction & fun
Date Posted: Thursday, May 25, 2017

At the John McGivney Children’s Centre (JMCC), we have a dedicated team of physiotherapists who work with children and youth, through assessment and treatment, to improve and maintain their ability to participate in everyday activities. May is physiotherapy month and we’re celebrating the amazing work that our physiotherapists do on a daily basis!

The physiotherapy team at JMCC provides therapy services in our Centre and as part of at-home or in-school programs. Additionally, they run a variety of specialized activities that offer a great combination of social interaction, therapy and fun.

One of those specialized activities is the water therapy program, where members of JMCCs physiotherapy team work with children in the swimming pool to improve range of motion, increase strength and endurance, work on specific motor skill development and more.
Nicole’s five-year old daughter Della participated in the swimming therapy program in February. During Della’s third session, Nicole watched proudly from the sidelines and said, “Every week she improves!”

Della, who will only walk while holding on to a person for support, developed some independence in the pool and she became more comfortable using an external device, like an inner tube, for support.

“Water can be an interesting medium. We have seen children try things in the water that they may not have tried on dry land.  Most of the kids who’ve participated in the program improve in some small way every week,” said Paula Belanger, JMCC Physiotherapist. “The goal is for families to learn and see how they can either use the water as a different form of therapy, together with primary therapy, or use it as a new recreational activity that the whole family can do together,” said Belanger.

The water therapy program runs throughout the year, at various times, for four week sessions. JMCC is fortunate to be able to utilize the Regional Children’s Centre pool, located just behind the Centre on the Hotel Dieu Grace Healthcare campus. Participants take part in a one-on-one, half-an-hour session with a physiotherapist or physiotherapy assistant. The individual nature of the sessions allows physiotherapists to work on particular skills with each child to meet their unique needs. However, being in the pool together, with other kids, also allows participants to take part in social interaction. Parents and guardians are welcome to join their child in the pool and can use the water for the full time that the program is running (usually a two hour time period), joining in before or staying in the water after their child’s therapy session.

Participation in swimming therapy is through therapist referral only and is for clients who therapists feel can benefit from therapy in the water.  Families can discuss the appropriateness of a referral with any of the therapists that they see at JMCC. 


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