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RT Aquatic Therapy Special Interest Group

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The Master's thesis by Truong-Smith (2023) titled "Aquatic Therapy for Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Recreation Therapy Pilot Program Plan" provides valuable insights for recreational therapists working with adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).


Key points include:

1. Program Structure: The pilot program is designed to address the unique needs of adults with ASD through structured aquatic therapy sessions. The program includes phases focusing on emotional adaptation, swimming skills, and social integration, similar to the multisystem approach used in pediatric populations.


2. Therapeutic Benefits: The thesis highlights improvements in motor skills, social interactions, and emotional regulation among participants. These benefits are crucial for enhancing the overall quality of life and functional independence of adults with ASD.


3. Social Integration: One of the primary goals of the program is to facilitate social interaction and communication skills. The aquatic environment provides a supportive setting for participants to engage in social activities, which can be challenging in traditional therapeutic settings.


4. Emotional and Behavioral Outcomes: The program aims to reduce anxiety and improve emotional well-being. The sensory properties of water, such as buoyancy and resistance, help in calming and regulating sensory input, which is beneficial for individuals with ASD.


5. Practical Implementation: The thesis provides a detailed plan for implementing the program, including session structure, duration, and specific activities. This practical guide can help recreational therapists design and execute effective aquatic therapy interventions tailored to adults with ASD.


In summary, Truong-Smith's thesis offers a comprehensive plan for using aquatic therapy to improve motor, social, and emotional outcomes in adults with ASD, making it a valuable resource for recreational therapists.

Reference: Truong-Smith, J. (2023). Aquatic Therapy for Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Recreation Therapy Pilot Program Plan (Master's thesis, California State University, Sacramento).



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