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Evidence-Based Aquatic Therapy

for the Pediatric Therapist

Location: Hudson, WI (Located approximately 30 minutes from Minneapolis, MN)

Dates:  March 25-26, 2023

16 contact hours

Instructor: Kiki Dickinson, MPT, PAqI

ATU Course #: PS801

Cost: $595


A 16 hr. training module packed into 2 days. Many insurers are beginning to deny aquatic therapy for the pediatric client, in part, because clinicians do not understand how to make the case for aquatics. Stop extolling the virtues of aquatic therapy for the pediatric client… without providing tangible evidence-based support. Leave this dynamic course understanding how, when, where and under what circumstances to provide aquatic therapy… and how to justify that choice to the world. Don’t just understand the science; be able to perform the EBAT treatments on Monday morning. Course includes information designed to help parents and caregivers incorporate water-based interventions into daily life. Includes “turn key” in-service and marketing materials to help expand your caseload.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this course, participants will be able to:

1. List the indications and precautions in the use of Aquatic Sensory Integration (ASI), Watsu®, the Bad Ragaz Ring Method, aquatic adaptations of balance tests, flow-through mat work, games, and functional skills training for the pediatric patient populations. Demonstrate an understanding of the underlying principles behind each aquatic therapy treatment approach (lecture, lab)

2. Understand the unique benefits of the aquatic environment, and use aquatic therapy techniques to increase strength, improve ROM, improve oral motor skills, normalize sensory input (vestibular, visual, auditory, tactile, proprioceptive), normalize tone, improve head and trunk righting, encourage play, verbalization and social interaction, improve posture, weight-bearing, balance, gait and proprioception, normalize transitional movements (lab)

3. Create a cohesive evidence-based argument supporting the use of aquatic therapy for the pediatric patient. Make appropriate aquatic therapy treatment choices (using the APTA’s Guide to Physical Therapy Practice as a springboard) (lecture, lab)

4. Be able to locate and summarize evidence-based research to further address why aquatic therapy could be appropriate. Create supportive bibliographies using the Aquatic Health Research Database of over 8,000 articles related to aquatic therapy (lecture)

5. Understand in what situations group therapy is appropriate. Understand supervision requirements for aquatic therapy. Understand the need to transition aquatic therapy to land based therapy (lecture)

6. Perform a pediatric inservice for rehab staff or a referring physician using “turn key” aquatic inservice modules provided in class (land lab)

7. Populate websites, brochures and onsite bulletin boards using “turn key” aquatic evidence-based marketing modules provided in class (land lab)

8. Discuss the differing documentation needs of interested parties: physicians, payers and patients. Use documentation to justify providing intervention in an aquatic environment (lecture)

9. Working with a partner, design and implement an evidence-based aquatic progression for 1-2 of the following:

· Non-progressive neurological disorder (e.g. cerebral palsy)

· Progressive neurological disorder (e.g. muscular dystrophy, SMA)

· Pervasive developmental disorder (e.g. autism, Rett Syndrome)

· Failure-to-thrive and developmental delay

· Cognitively Impaired

CEU Information

CE Approval for PT providers:

  • ATU courses are preapproved in: Minnesota (Board of PT), Wisconsin (state chapter of APTA)
  • ATU courses should also automatically satisfy the requirements for Continuing Education in: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming by meeting statute requirements or by already being approved through other state PT boards or APTA chapters. You should always verify this information with your state prior to attending.
  • All other states, except for California and New York, may file an individual application with a small fee ($10-$50) for CE approval. Pay attention to submission deadlines for approval.
  • California and New York do not allow self-approval of continuing education.

Target Audience

PT's, PTA's, OT's, COTA's, SLP's, and other aquatic professionals.


Day 1

7:30-8:00 Registration

8:00-12:00 Lecture 

12:00-1:00 Lunch

1:00-5:00 Pool lab 

Day 2

8:00-12:00 Lecture 

12:00-1:00 Lunch

1:00-5:00 Pool lab 

Lecture Location

Holiday Inn and Suites Hudson, WI

181 Carmichael Road

Hudson WI 54016

Lab Location

St. Croix Therapy

742 Sterbenz Drive

Hudson, WI 54016


If you do not plan to rent a car or use ride share there is a shuttle that goes from the MSP airport to the Hudson, WI park and ride, a 10 minute walk to the Holiday Inn and Suites: If interested the contact info. is 715.830.9400 or   If you don't have a car I recommend that you consider staying at the Holiday Inn Express and Suites (see lodging info below) where the lecture portion of the course is being held. I can arrange transportation to and from the pool lab portion of the course. 


***Discounted rate and lecture portion of the course being held at hotel listed below***

Holiday Inn and Suites Hudson, WI

181 Carmichael Road

Hudson WI 54016


***For discounted rate call hotel and ask for "The Hudson Hospital rate".  Make reservations in advance before hotel is sold out.***

Hotel Link:

There are several other hotels near class location:

Best Western Plus

Comfort Suites

Hampton Inn and Suites

AmericInn by Wyndam

Meet your Instructor

Kiki Dickinson, MPT, PAqI

Kathleen (Kiki) Dickinson, MPT graduated from the College of St. Catherine with a master's degree in physical therapy. Kiki has over 25 years of pediatric and adult physical therapy experience at St. Croix Therapy (Therapeutic Services for Children and Adults) in Hudson, Wisconsin. She has extensive experience developing and implementing aquatic therapy programs for a diverse pediatric population which includes working with children of all ages including the birth-to-three population, as well as the ortho-neuro adult population.

Kiki founded North Star Aquatic Therapy to offer aquatic therapy courses for both the pediatric and adult populations. Kiki teaches custom aquatic therapy classes nationally and internationally with a focus on the neuro pediatric and geriatric population. Kiki has helped develop course manuals for several pediatric courses for Aquatic Therapy University (ATU) and has developed several of her own individual classes that she has presented at national and state APTA conferences. Kiki has a clinical and research interest in childhood obesity and the impact it has on the special needs population. Kiki has played a significant role in developing aquatic coursework for Speech Language Pathologists, including offering one of the first ASHA approved course in aquatics with ATU.

Kiki is certified in Halliwick, Bad Ragaz, Ai Chi and Cranio-sacral Therapy. Kiki has her Aquaticist℠ credentials from ATU. Kiki has been an adjunct professor at St. Catherine’s University for over 20 years and teaches Pediatric Coursework for their Physical Therapy Assistant Program.


Programming Changes: Due to unforeseen circumstances, ATU schedules, instructors and/or meals may need to be changed without notice.

Cancellation of Class By ATU: ATU classes may be cancelled for low registration up to 30 days prior to the class. In this event, a full refund of class tuition or a voucher to another class will be issued to students. ATU does not reimburse change fees, airline tickets or any other travel related expenses, so please do not make plans until you receive the 30-day confirmation prior to the conference.

Cancellation of Class by Student: A refund, minus a $175 reseating fee, will be given for student cancellations made prior to 30 days before the conference. No refunds will be given for cancellations received after 30 day deadline. In the event of a student cancellation after the deadline, enrollment fees may be transferred to other ATU courses within 12 months at no charge.

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