The effect of aquatic therapy on functional mobility of infants and toddlers in early intervention

Pediatr Phys Ther. Winter 2007;19(4):275-82. doi: 10.1097/PEP.0b013e3181575190.


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of aquatic therapy (AT) as an adjunct to home-based early intervention (EI) on differences in children's functional mobility.

Methods: Thirty-seven children of ages six to 30 months (x = 24.2; SD = 8.5) with delayed functional mobility participated in this study. The AT group (n = 15) received weekly AT in a community pool in addition to home-based EI with a physical therapist (PT) or occupational therapist (OT). A randomly selected comparison group (n = 22) received home-based EI with a PT or OT. Baseline and postintervention scores on the Gross Motor Subsection of the Mullen Scales of Early Learning were compared between the AT and comparison group.

Results: The AT group demonstrated significantly greater (p < 0.05) gains in functional mobility than the comparison group.

Conclusion: AT is a useful adjunct to EI to improve children's functional mobility.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Developmental Disabilities / rehabilitation*
  • Early Intervention, Educational / methods*
  • Exercise Therapy / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Motor Skills
  • Occupational Therapy / methods
  • Physical Therapy Specialty / methods
  • Swimming*
  • Water*


  • Water