Purpose: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of an aquatic aerobic exercise program for a child with cerebral palsy.
Methods: A 5-year-old girl with spastic diplegia classified at level III on the Gross Motor Function Classification System participated in this single-subject A-B-A design study. The aquatic aerobic exercise intervention was carried out 3 times per week for 12 weeks at an intensity of 50% to 80% of heart rate reserve. The Canadian Occupational Performance Measure, Gross Motor Function Measure, and 6-minute walk test were used as outcomes.
Results: Statistically significant improvements were found in the participation, activity, and body function components of the International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health model. Improvements in functional abilities and walking endurance and speed were recorded.
Conclusion: These findings suggest that an aquatic aerobic exercise program was effective for this child with cerebral palsy and support the need for additional research in this area.