Assisting With Water Therapy Sessions
On Saturdays at midday I have been helping at the water therapy, one of the activities of Integral Attention Center here in Playa del Carmen, who are partner to GVI Healthcare Project.
This therapy is designed to help children with special needs. Their needs can be physical, mental or both. The aim of the therapy is to help to promote mobility, increase confidence and give the kids a new skill as well as a fun activity. The first time I went I was working with Julio who has severe mobility issues and is in a wheelchair. He needed assistance to keep himself afloat and required me to move his limbs to help ease the stiffness. As we swam I was anxious not to hurt his tight muscles but he assured me he was enjoying himself and was in no pain. By the end of the hour the improvement was incredible: his limbs were barely able to move a few inches at the beginning, but by the end his arms were moving full rotations and his legs able to move over a meter!
The following week I was with a girl named Fabi. It was the first time she had been to water therapy and she was suitably frightened. Although she had a float under her arms she insisted in wrapping her arms around me for assurance. It was slow steps at first and I was asking her to dip her face into the water and then her head, just to get used to being in the water. She sheepishly released her grip around my shoulders and began to dip her face in on her own accord. Before I knew it she was collecting water in her mouth and squirting it in my face which we both found funny! Despite swallowing a few liters of pool water, she began to look more comfortable and started to experiment with different strokes.
The only tricky part of working with Fabi was trying to convince her to leave the pool at the end. Again, water therapy proved to be a really rewarding way to spend a Saturday afternoon.
My most recent time at aquatic therapy was with a more confident swimmer called Juan. He was visibly excited at the prospect of an hours swim and was clapping his hands and grinning from ear to ear as he approached the water. Juan was a really good swimmer and was showing me how he thought I should hold the float although most of the time he enjoyed throwing it ahead and racing me to it. I had loads of fun swimming with Juan and the best thing was watching his excitement build as I counted him down from ten before he threw himself in. We repeated this routine for at least 10 minutes!
I have really loved going to water therapy and to share an experience with the kids that they are so enthusiastic about. Is was very heartwarming as well as really worthwhile.
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