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Aquatic Therapy Options for Cerebral Palsy, Developmental Disabilities and Medical Complexity

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

Dates: October 14-15, 2023

16 contact hours

Instructor: Kiki Dickinson, MPT, PAqI

ATU Course #: PS901

Cost: $595


This is a 16 hour training  packed into 2 days. 

This course is designed to demonstrate the advanced skills necessary to bring aquatics to the child, adolescent and adult with cerebral palsy, developmental delay, Osteogenesis Imperfecta, muscular dystrophy or other medically fragile or profoundly involved conditions. Includes findings from published literature to help convince skittish medical personnel (and parents) of the benefits of aquatics.

Shows therapists the “nuts and bolts” of teaching techniques to parents and caregivers.Offers insight into "where to go next" for the therapist who has tried everything he or she knows and has run out of ideas. Provides tips on working with the medically fragile infants, children and adults with medical devices (ventilator tubes, IVs, g-tubes, and oxygen) in and around water. Includes information on reimbursement for aquatic therapy, both at the infant, child and adult level.

Learning Objectives

1. Identify 3-4 indications and medical prerequisites for selecting infants, children, adolescents and adults for aquatic therapy. Discuss how to make a case that therapy pool is appropriate setting for Birth-3 therapy interventions. (lecture)

2. Identify 2-3 potential risks or adverse events which might occur with the use of aquatic therapy with the medically fragile or profoundly involved patient (lecture)

3. Discuss 1-2 potential benefits of aquatic therapy for each: Feeding, Movement, Socialization, Sensation (lecture)

4. Make a 3-minute verbal “case” for providing aquatic services for the cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, Osteogenesis Imperfecta, developmental disabilities and more. Be able to identify and locate supportive research to bolster case (lecture)

5. Choose proper equipment, water temperature, and procedures for working with these conditions (lecture/land lab).

6. Understand the appropriate way to document – and bill insurance for – aquatic therapy services (lecture)

7. Craft a sample home program for parents/caregivers who wish to incorporate sensory tasks in the shower, bathtub or community pool. Be able to share with parents where they can obtain additional training materials (lecture)

8. Perform 1-2 aquatic therapeutic movements, tasks, or exercises designed 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)

9. Progress a specific aquatic task from a lower level of function towards increased independence (lab)

10. With a partner, design and implement a 15-minute aquatic treatment plan (including equipment selection) for 1-2 of the following: (lab)

  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Developmental Delay
  • Osteogenesis Imperfecta
  • Muscular Dystrophy
  • Others who are medically fragile or severely and profoundly involved

***PT preapproval applied for these 36 states: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Kentucky, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. If you are a PT in another state, please email as it is often possible to obtain individual approval in advance of the course for a nominal fee. OTs please email for information. 

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

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.

Lecture Location:

Holiday Inn and Suites Hudson, WI

181 Carmichael Road

Hudson WI 54016


Pool Lab Location:

St. Croix Therapy

742 Sterbenz Drive

Hudson, WI 54016


If you dont plan to rent a car there is a shuttle that goes from the MSP airport to Hudson, WI: 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 early before hotel is sold out.***

Several other Hotels are located in Hudson, Wisconsin near the lecture/lab:

Best Western Plus

Comfort Suites

Hampton Inn and Suites

AmericInn by Wyndam

Meet your Instructor

Kiki Dickinson, MPT, PAqI

Tracks: Pediatric/ Neuro/ Speech

Kathleen (Kiki) Dickinson, MPT graduated from the College of St. Catherine with a master's degree in physical therapy. She has been a Pediatric Physical Therapist since 1995. Kiki works at St. Croix Therapy (Therapeutic Services for Children and Adults) in Hudson, Wisconsin and has 20 years of 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.

Kiki teaches custom seminars across the USA for Aquatic Therapy University (ATU) with an emphasis on the neuro pediatric and adult populations. Kiki has helped develop course manuals for several pediatric courses for ATU. Recently Kiki and her business partner Kim Gordon have established their own company North Star Aquatic Therapy offering aquatic therapy courses for both the pediatric and adult populations.

Kiki is certified in the Universal Exercise Unit/Therasuit Method and Craniosacral Therapy. Kiki has her Aquaticist℠ credential’s from ATU. Kiki is an adjunct professor at St. Catherine’s University for over 15 years and teaches Pediatric Coursework for their Physical Therapy Assistant Program.

Cancellation Policy


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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