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International Journal of Pediatrics
Volume 2011, Article ID 712165, 7 pages
Review Article

Aquatic Exercise Programs for Children and Adolescents with Cerebral Palsy: What Do We Know and Where Do We Go?

1CanChild Centre for Childhood Disability Research, McMaster University, 1400 Main Street West, Room 408, Hamilton, ON, Canada L8S 1C7
2Health Sciences Program, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada L8S 4L8

Received 26 May 2011; Accepted 4 October 2011

Academic Editor: Deepak Kamat

Copyright © 2011 J. W. Gorter and S. J. Currie. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Aquatic exercise programs may be a beneficial form of therapy for children and adolescents with cerebral palsy (CP), particularly for those with significant movement limitations where land-based physical activity is difficult. The most recently published systematic review (2005) on aquatic interventions in children with CP found supportive but insufficient evidence on its effectiveness. The aim of this paper is to review recently published literature since 2005 with a focus on aquatic exercise for children with CP. In total, six new studies were published with a main focus on aerobic aquatic interventions in higher functioning children and adolescents with CP. Swimming is one of the most frequently reported physical activities in children and adolescents with CP. Therefore, information on its safety and benefits is highly needed, for those with more severe CP in particular. Research design issues are discussed to help guide future research and practice.