Send to

Choose Destination
Phys Occup Ther Pediatr. 2010 Nov;30(4):313-24. doi: 10.3109/01942638.2010.493097.

Aquatic therapy for a child with type III spinal muscular atrophy: a case report.

Author information

Division of Physical Therapy, Long Island University, Brooklyn Campus, Brooklyn, New York, USA.


Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a neuromuscular disorder characterized by degeneration of alpha motor neurons. This case report describes an aquatic therapy program and the outcomes for a 3-year-old girl with type III SMA. Motor skills were examined using the 88-item Gross Motor Function Measure (GMFM), the Peabody Developmental Motor Scales (PDMS-2), and the GAITRite system. The child received aquatic therapy twice per week for 45-min sessions, for 14 weeks. The intervention included aquatic activities designed to improve gross motor skills and age-appropriate functional mobility. The GMFM total score improved by 11% following the intervention. The Standing Dimension score improved by 28% and the Walking, Running, and Jumping Dimension score improved by 18%. The gross motor quotient for the PDMS-2 improved from 66 to 74. The child's gait showed improvement in walking velocity, stride length, and single-limb support time as a percentage of the gait cycle. The outcomes of this case report demonstrate the successful improvement of gross motor function and gait in a 3-year-old child with SMA. This study provides clinical information for therapists utilizing aquatic therapy as a modality for children with neuromuscular disorders.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Taylor & Francis
Loading ...
Support Center