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Aquatic Therapy for the Speech-Language Pathologist

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

Dates: Oct 10-11, 2015

Hours: 16 hours

Instructors: Amy M. Anderson, M.S., CCC-SLP & Kiki Dickinson, MPT, PAqI

ATU Course #: PS891

Cost: $595

 Only held every 2 to 3 years

ASHA approval being applied for


An entire 16 hour course packed into 2 days designed specifically for the SLP addressing why the pool is an effective and motivating environment for working with both children and adults in an aquatic environment.

Provides tips on positioning patients in water for speech therapy, use of aquatic equipment to maximize results, and progressions for improving breath control, vocalization and other speech-only goals. Shows tips for taking augmentative communication into water. Discusses which aquatic specialty techniques (e.g. Watsu®) may be usable by the speech therapist. Includes information on current research supporting performing speech tasks in the pool. Addresses why a therapy pool is an appropriate tool for the speech therapist and discusses whether or not SLPs should pursue including 97113 as a reimbursable code for speech.

Learning Objectives

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

1. Participate in an open forum discussion on the emergence of the therapy pool as a viable treatment venue for the SLP (forum)

2. Make a 3 minute verbal “case” for providing speech therapy services in the water.

3. Locate and describe what ASHA, state laws, and payers have to say (if anything) about SLPs working in water (lecture)

4. Recite 5-6 aquatic precautions and contraindications specific to the speech patient (lecture).

5. Outline 1-2 ways to divide labor and schedule pool-time when all three disciplines are involved in a patient’s care. Describe 1-2 ways that the goals of water-based OT, PT, and speech should differ (lecture)

6. Determine under what conditions an adult should be considered for aquatic speech therapy (lecture)

7. Craft a sample home program for parents/caregivers who wish to incorporate 3-4 speech-related tasks in the shower, bathtub or community pool. Be able to share with parents where they can obtain additional training materials (lecture)

8. Describe why aquatic therapy may be the treatment of choice if (a) the patient has poor respiratory support and control for speech, (b) the patient is difficult to position for therapy; or (d) the patient is unwilling or unable to vocalize on land (lecture)

9. Demonstrate 2-3 effective positions to work with adult and pediatric clients in the water (lab)

10. Perform 3-4 aquatic therapeutic movements, tasks, or exercises designed to:

  • increase attention to a task (a foundation for building strong language skills)
  • increase strength of speech-related musculature
  • improve ROM of chest and shoulder region
  • improve head and trunk righting as a precursor for speech
  • perform lip and mouth closure
  • improve total communication
  • improve verbalization, articulation, descriptive language and sentence richness
  • encourage play and social interaction (lab)

11. Demonstrate 1-2 aquatic tasks or activities from each of the following specialty techniques (as each relates to the speech patient):

  • Aquatic Sensory Integration (ASI)
  • Aquatic manual therapy and stretching
  • Oral Motor exercises
  • Augmentative communication
  • Watsu (lab)

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

  • Non-progressive neurological disorder (e.g. cerebral palsy, CVA, TBI)
  • Progressive neurological disorder (e.g. Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis)
  • Pervasive developmental disorder (e.g. autism)


Day 1

8:00-8:30 Registration (Hudson Hospital, 405 Stageline Rd. Hudson, WI 54016)

8:30-12:00 Lecture

12:00-1:00 Lunch

1:00-3:40 Pool lab (St. Croix Therapy, 742 Stebenz Dr Hudson, WI 54016)

3:40-4:00 Energy break

4:00-5:45 Pool lab

Day 2

8:00-11:30 Lecture

11:30-12:30 Lunch

12:30-3:10 Pool lab

3:10-3:30 Energy break

3:30-5:15 Pool lab

5:15-5:30 Wrap-up and questions

Lecture Location:

Hudson Hospital & Clinics

405 Stageline Drive

Hudson, WI 54016

Lab Location:

St. Croix Therapy

742 Sterbenz Drive

Hudson, WI 54016

Recommended Hotel:

Comfort Suites

2620 Center Drive

Hudson, WI 54016

Ask for the Hudson Hospital Discount ($75.00 including continental breakfast)

Within walking distance of lecture location.

Meet your Instructors

Amy M. Anderson, M.S., CCC-SLP

Amy has been practicing speech-language pathology for 22 years. Amy received her Master’s degree from Minnesota State University of Mankato in 1993. Amy was an Adjunct Faculty member at MNSU and taught courses including phonetics, articulation and phonological development/disorders, pediatric and adult dysphagia, and supervised graduate students as a Clinical Supervisor for 6 years.

Amy is an experienced therapist in working with pediatrics and adults in schools and clinic-based speech and language therapy. Amy currently works in the early childhood program in the Hudson School district. Amy has supervisory experience which includes program development and clinical administration. Amy provides home-based speech and language therapy to children and families in the Birth to Three Program and inpatient speech and language services to children and adults at St. Croix Therapy in Hudson, WI which includes a large focus on aquatic therapy.

Amy has specialized training with Hanen Certification, Advanced Feeding and Swallowing training with several specialized treatment techniques including Sequential Oral Sensory, Talk Tools, Beckman Oral Motor, and assessment and treatment of oral-motor, feeding/swallowing, and respiratory-phonatory function in infants and children with neuromotor involvement. Amy enjoys the integrated approach to treatment with physical therapists and occupational therapists in all areas with children and adults having speech and language concerns and/or feeding issues. Amy is recognized as having advanced training and expertise through CASANA in evaluating and treatment of Childhood Apraxia of Speech.  

Kiki Dickinson, MPT, PAqI

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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