The Current Profile of Aquatic Rehabilitation Fitness and Training Practitioners

ECU Author/Contributor (non-ECU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Joan M. Langella (Creator)
East Carolina University (ECU )
Web Site:
Thomas K. Skalko

Abstract: Aquatic rehabilitation fitness and training practitioners are perceived as competent knowledgeable certified specialists who use a comprehensive therapeutic approach in combination with aquatic techniques to aid in the rehabilitation of various conditions. These specialists however have diverse educational backgrounds that include content in movement knowledge of chronic and acute disabling conditions diseases and aquatic techniques. In the past two decades aquatic therapy has become a diverse multidisciplinary field. Each aquatic practitioner's role is individually defined and each individual may hold a different job description work with different populations and possess different preparation and training.  A growing body of literature tends to support the efficacy and benefits of aquatic rehabilitation fitness and training in general yet within the aquatic field it remains unclear who actually provides these aquatic rehabilitation fitness and training services (Norton & Jamison 2000). The purpose of this study was to examine aquatic practitioners currently providing aquatic rehabilitation fitness and training services from two of the leading aquatic organizations Aquatic Resource Network (ARN) and Aquatic Therapy & Rehab Institute (ATRI). The study was designed to help identify and describe the individuals providing aquatic rehabilitation fitness and training services. Five research questions were posed to examine relationships between the professional profile of respondents of the two aquatic organizations and the types of credentialing settings and population groups and services provided. A descriptive questionnaire consisting of 26 questions was designed and is divided into three sections: (a) demographic (b) facility and (c) aquatic therapy continuing professional development information. Each section focused on the establishment of a profile of aquatic rehabilitation fitness and training practitioners of the targeted organizations. The questionnaire was validated for content validity via a jury of experts with knowledge in survey design and aquatics. In order to achieve maximum survey response the principle investigator followed Dillman's (2000) Tailored Design Method (TDM). This study yielded 180 usable surveys with comparable responses from both aquatic organization memberships. The study sample consisted of 16.1% (n = 29) Aquatic Resource Network (ARN) respondents 21.6% (n = 39) Aquatic Therapy and Rehab Institute (ATRI) respondents 21.6% (n = 39) respondents belonging to both organizations and 29.4% (n = 53) respondents belonging to neither organization.  Results reflect a diverse field of practitioners and a general lack of consistency in educational background aquatic training and certifications and populations served. Implications for consistency and credentialing are addressed. 

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2011
Rehabilitation counselors
Recreational therapists

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