Aquatic Therapy

Aquatic therapy uses water to help children make the most of their abilities on land. The goal is to help the child improve skills for daily life, and be able to participate in land-based therapy or a home-based program.

Physical therapy (PT) in the water can improve:

  • Lower body and core strength
  • Balance
  • Coordination
  • Motor planning
  • Endurance
  • Range of motion
  • Walking
  • Level of pain

Who Can Benefit?

Aquatic Therapy may help children with the following diagnoses:

  • Autism
  • Down syndrome
  • Sensory Processing Dysfunction
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Spina Bifida
  • Connective Tissue diseases
  • Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis
  • Spinal Cord Injury
  • Chronic Pain
  • Neurological Disorder
  • Stroke
  • Developmental Delay
  • Orthopedic Disorders/Injury
  • Traumatic Brain Injury

Why Choose Us?

Therapists from Cincinnati Children's complete specialized training to provide aquatic therapy. We offer aquatic wellness programs for a variety of diagnoses. The warm water pool at our Cincinnati Children's Drake neighborhood location has an adjustable floor, allowing easy entry and height adjustment.

Physical therapists (PTs) at Cincinnati Children's have authored publications looking at aquatic therapy and published current research.


  • There are some conditions that prevent participation in aquatic therapy:
    • Active seizures that are not well controlled by medication
    • No tracheostomy
    • No PICC Line
    • No type of open wound/incision/scabbing until completely closed and healed
  • If patient is not continent, they will need to have a swim diaper, rubber pants over the diaper, and bathing suit
  • If patient is walking, patient needs to wear water shoes or water socks that need to be worn in the pool and on the pool deck
  • Is the patient able to use a pool ladder or steps or will they need a chair lift?
  • Parents need to be prepared to be in the water to assist during therapy sessions
  • Insurance: Some insurance companies do not cover aquatic therapy services. It is very important that you check with your insurance company prior to coming to the first session. Make sure to tell them that your doctor has referred your child for 1:1 aquatic therapy and that services will be delivered by a physical therapist. If you have any further questions or needs, you can contact one of our Financial Service Representatives at 513-636-4651, option 4 or 1-800-344-2462, ext. 4651, option 4.

What Should I Bring to My First Aquatics Session?

  • Nose plug, ear plugs, or goggles for you and your child if recommended or needed
  • Swim diapers and plastic liner if your child is not continent or potty-trained (required)
  • Aqua socks for you and your child (required)
  • Swimsuits for you and your child (required)

Location and Directions

Aquatic Therapy is available at our Drake neighborhood location. Note: Please arrive 15 minutes early to give yourself time to register and change.

Directions from the parking lot:

  • Enter North Parking Lot Entrance.
  • When you enter the building, walk past the right side of the service desk to the elevator.
  • Take elevator to Level A.
  • Turn left off elevator.
  • Aquatic center will be on your right. The Children’s office will be on your left.
  • Please register at the kiosk in the office. If you have difficulties in using the kiosk, please pick up the phone on the wall to the right of the kiosk and someone will assist you.
  • After signing in, please go over to the pool to get ready and the therapist will meet you at the pool.
  • The girls locker room is to the left, the boys locker room is to the right. Family dressing rooms are also available. Check with lifeguard for availability.
Aquatic therapy is provided in a one-on-one setting.
Aquatic therapy can help children with a variety of diagnoses, from connective tissue diseases to neurological disorders.

OT-PT Treatments

The Division of Occupational and Physical Therapy provides a variety of treatment options for patients through a variety of technology.

Read More

Contact Us

For more information about the Division of Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy, call 513-636-4651 or email

To schedule an appointment with OT, PT, or the Motion Analysis Lab, call 513-636-4651 and select option 1.

To talk with a Financial Services Representative, call 513-636-4651 and select option 2.