My youngest, five year old Brielle has cerebral palsy and limited mobility along with other special needs.
She’s just finished a session of hydrotherapy with her school physiotherapist.
When I’ve watched her during these sessions, she seems to just about tolerate it. Not quite upset, but not too happy or excited either.
Her favourite thing is climbing up and down the stairs grasping the shiny handrail that leads into the pool.
She also seems to like riding on the ‘noodle’ like a pony.
I was a little apprehensive about how she’d manage in Splash Landings water park (at Alton Towers), our first point of call.
Her excitement and joy in the water blew me away!
Brielle had an absolute whale of a time! She giggled and squealed with the splashes and sprays of the waterworks, loved twirling and drifting around the lazy river in our arms, more climbing up and down stairs with a firm hand of support, and enjoyed hanging out with the family in the outside warm pool.
I decided to keep her glasses on during our splash park adventure - they doubled almost as goggles, keeping out big splashes, as they are a sports style and fit closely.
I’d really recommend keeping your kiddo’s glasses on, if they will stay on in the water.
Not only will they minimize water from getting into their eyes, they’ll be able to see your face and their surroundings better!
Two other essentials for Brielle, both at the splash park and our hotel pool is her beady neck support wrap and her wet suit vest.
The neck support’s proper name is a ‘posture pillow’ and I use it to prevent her from swallowing water, as she has big problems swallowing and I don’t want to risk her aspirating pool water. She wears it happily like a pair of armbands.
Her wetsuit is also invaluable at keeping her warm, as we tend to spend long periods in the water, and hotel pools are not nearly as warm as therapy pools!
We usually reach a point during our swim time when Brielle gets bored or teary.
One new tactic I’ve come up with (bar taking the girls all out of the water), is jumping up and down in water holding her! Brielle gets SO excited, she kicks and splashes too.
It’s fun and good movement for her, activating so many muscles, and good exercise for this mum too!
I’m so happy we’ve had lots of time together in the water on our holidays, and am determined to make our trips to the pool more regular when we get home.
I’ve discovered that hydrotherapy is something you can do with your child too, and have lots of fun doing it!