Aquatic exercise reigns supreme against other forms of activity. You can perform exercises in the water that you ordinarily could not do on land because the water’s buoyancy keeps you afloat. This also makes it much easier to tone your muscles. Also, it is a more enjoyable experience because you are in the water and will not become sweaty or experience symptoms of overheating. Since water training is a low impact sport, it is very joint friendly. It is easy to understand what the benefits of aquatic exercise are while seeing that there are almost no drawbacks. On top of these physical advantages, water is an amazing therapy medium for special needs children and adults.

There are three major benefits that special needs people can take away from water therapy.
• Spending time in the water is beneficial in developing a self-confidence that will carry over to all aspects of life. Imagine the first time you did something new and challenging. The satisfaction and happiness from saying, “I did it!” is a priceless feeling for some people, especially those who may not have the range of life experience that most of us take for granted.

• Swimming is not only a tremendously healthy activity, but it is a necessary skill in the event of a water borne emergency. For someone with special needs, supervision is always advised, but accidents can always happen when you least expect them. Teaching a life-saving skill could indeed save a life.

• Children and adults with special requirements often are not as active as is preferred. It requires more planning and precautions due to their individual condition. Swimmers can be monitored closely and effectively by a professional. Also, due to lower activity levels, they may not be as flexible as others; the water’s buoyancy facilitates movement and is less restrictive.

Ailene Tisser and Cindy Freeman, with a combined therapy experience of over 40 years, founded Angelfish Therapy with one goal in mind: help children who have a variety of special needs, sensory issues, and motor coordination difficulties, reach their full potential through fun and challenging aquatic therapy sessions, swim lessons, and even land-based therapy.

Angelfish Therapy is aquatic occupational therapy for children with developmental delays, gross motor delays, and sensory issues; especially those concerning water. This can include kids with sensory processing disorder, learning disabilities, ADHD, autism, PDD-NOS, speech delays, apraxia and dyspraxia. They work with children individually, in small groups, in parent/child classes, and in summer camp settings to improve their motor skills and enhance their learning potential.

They are so passionate about what they do, because according to the Red Cross: “About 3,500 Americans drown each year, averaging ten deaths per day. More than one in five fatal drowning victims are children 14 and younger.” What is more, drowning has been identified as a leading cause of accidental death for children and adults with Autism. These are the statistics that keep us up at night, and motivated Angelfish Therapy to offer their Swim Whisperers program to all aquatic professionals and the swim community at large.

The work Angelfish Therapy does every day is not a testament to their level of expertise, but rather, a showcasing of the potential that every patient has to become happier and healthier regardless of their personal condition. To put your trust in them is to believe that there is always something more to reach for.