Hydrotherapy and aquatics program

Hydrotherapy and aquatics program for people with developmental disabilities

Akim Project 2015

AKIM Israel’s Sports Department operates sports services for people with developmental disabilities and protects their rights to enjoy quality sports services in the community and in out-of-home housing.

AKIM offers a variety of personal, team, competitive and popular sports activities for people with developmental disabilities in all types of educational rehabilitative institutions, by holding all-around sports days, single sport days, hikes, and bicycle journeys.

AKIM is also planning to set up long-term projects of rehabilitation programs involving movement and sports, such as horseback riding, aquatics, hydrotherapy, movement, and martial arts.

In addition the Department runs a special activities program for people with severe mental retardation who are confined to a wheelchair.


A mentally handicapped person with no physical disabilities can almost reach the level of a normal child, if he gets proper treatment in accordance with his abilities and needs.


The main thing is to provide children with an opportunity to learn an appropriate physical skill.


Many studies performed on groups of mentally retarded youths indicate that intensive and appropriate physical activity improve their motor abilities (improved muscle strength, power and stamina), and may even contribute to improved mental abilities.


Therefore, a focused, intensive physical education and sports program adapted to the abilities of the participating individual can contribute to that person’s progress and enable him or her to lead a fuller life. This can be attained through the development of tools for improving personal and group physical skills and through the creation of frameworks for demonstrating these skills in a climate of activity and fun.

Hydrotherapy and aquatics

Water is an environment in which conditions differ from those of the dry land where man spends most of his time. The water environment makes it possible for a person to become more intimately aware of his own body, which consists of an internal water environment. Being in the water is in a way like a return to the womb. It is a quite and peaceful environment which is however also threatening at the same time. In the water a person must cope with the fear of losing control, and in order to stay in the water it is necessary to undergo a process of reeducation and to learn how to properly interact with the water.

Performing activities in the water, whether in the form of hydrotherapy or swimming lessons, can help people with disabilities to use their muscles more efficiently, due to the horizontal position of the body, the specific gravity of water, and the reduction of the gravitational force. This brings about an increased self-confidence, improves self-awareness, enhances one’s self-esteem and the way one is perceived by others, and teaches more refined movement and obeying rules and regulations. In addition, aquatic activities together with members of a peer group will make it possible to combine physical and social aims simultaneously, and point out aspects of similarity and dissimilarity between people.



Group therapy and learning, with three participants per group and one session per week:

Total cost per session: $75 × 40 sessions over a period of 10 months = $3.000 per group.

No. of planned groups: 10

Total cost of project: $ 30.000

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