Yooralla launches new aquatic physiotherapy program for children

Yooralla has launched an innovative aquatic physiotherapy program for children with disability.

Aquatic physiotherapy, also known as hydrotherapy, is physiotherapy performed in warm water. It offers many benefits for children with physical disability including: facilitating muscle relaxation, cardiovascular fitness, tone and pain management, muscle and core strengthening, trunk stability, stretching and movement, walking practice and improved balance.

Anne-Marie Dickinson, a Yooralla physiotherapist who facilitates the program, said while aquatic physiotherapy is available across Melbourne for adults, not many physiotherapists currently offer this service for children.

“Aquatic physiotherapy was not previously funded under the old disability funding model. It is, however, now funded under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). Aquatic physiotherapy falls under Therapy as a Capacity Support in a NDIS plan,” she said.

Sessions are currently available Monday to Friday between 9.30am and 2.30pm. Yooralla will offer the program in blocks of six one-on-one sessions commencing with a land-based assessment.

Ms Dickinson said the purpose of this is to consider the individual’s capabilities and support needs prior to entering and exiting the pool and to set goals. To ensure the safety of the customer, medical clearance will be needed in some cases before starting the program.

The last two sessions will be used to train the parent or the carer, so that they can continue the program on their own.

“We use the properties of the water combined with a variety of physiotherapy treatment approaches to address each child’s specific therapeutic goals. Our overall focus is to support children to develop and gain skills to participate in their day-to-day lives,” she said.

Ms Dickinson said if participants would like to receive funding for aquatic physiotherapy as part of their NDIS package, it is important it is discussed in their NDIS planning meeting, including how the therapy will support one of their goals.

If you are interested in the program or are looking for support to understand the NDIS, please call 03 9666 4500 or email ndis.infohub@yooralla.com.au.

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