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J Autism Dev Disord. 2018 Jun;48(6):1945-1956. doi: 10.1007/s10803-017-3456-y.

Effectiveness of a Multisystem Aquatic Therapy for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders.

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Center for Studies and Research "Caputo & Ippolito - Multisystemic Aquatic Therapy", Casoria, Via Vincenzo Cuoco, 26, 80026, Naples, Italy.
UOMI ASL Naples Third-South, Service of Developmental Neuropsychiatry, District 57, Torre del Greco, Via Marconi, 80059, Naples, Italy.
Cognitive-Behavioral School of Psychotherapy "Serapide SPEE", Naples, Italy.
Neuropsychology Laboratory, Department of Psychology, University of Campania "Luigi Vanvitelli", Viale Ellittico 31, 81100, Caserta, Italy.


Aquatic therapy improves motor skills of persons with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), but its usefulness for treating functional difficulties needs to be verified yet. We tested effectiveness of a multisystem aquatic therapy on behavioural, emotional, social and swimming skills of children with ASD. Multisystem aquatic therapy was divided in three phases (emotional adaptation, swimming adaptation and social integration) implemented in a 10-months-programme. At post-treatment, the aquatic therapy group showed significant improvements relative to controls on functional adaptation (Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales), emotional response, adaptation to changeĀ and on activity level (Childhood Autism Rating Scale). Swimming skills learning was also demonstrated. Multisystem aquatic therapy is useful for ameliorating functional impairments of children with ASD, going well beyond a swimming training.


Aquatic therapy; Autism Spectrum Disorders; Functional adaptation; Intervention; Social-communicative skills


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