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Aquatic Therapy for the Speech Therapist

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This course is offered for 1.6 ASHA CEUs
(Intermediate Level, Professional area)


A 16 hour in-service packed into 2 days. Designed for the SLP or speech therapist, this course includes information on working with both children and adults in water for language and speech development.


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.


Neither Kiki Dickinson nor Amy Anderson have any existing relevant financial or nonfinancial relationships to the course content. Both Kiki and Amy are paid employees of St. Croix Therapy and are receiving speakers fees from Aquatic Therapy University.


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
8:30-12:00 Lecture
12:00-1:00 Lunch
1:00-3:40 Pool lab
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

Typical Instructors

Amy M. Anderson, M.S., CCC-SLP
Tracks: Speech

Amy has been practicing speech-language pathology for 20 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 is currently the Clinical Team Leader of the Speech Therapy Department at St. Croix Therapy (Therapeutic Services for Children and Adults) 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 the center 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.


Kathleen "Kiki" Dickinson, MPT
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 worked as a Pediatric Physical Therapist since 1995. Over the last several years her clinic has expanded and developed aquatic therapy programs for adult neuro and ortho populations with an emphasis on individuals with chronic pain and more medically complicated clients.


Kiki works at St. Croix Therapy (Therapeutic Services for Children and Adults) in Hudson, Wisconsin and has 17 years of experience developing and implementing therapy programs for a diverse pediatric population which includes working with children of all ages including the birth-to-three population.


For over seven years, Kiki has devoted one day per week in the SNF/TCU setting working with the geriatric and general debilitation population. Her caseload featured a high concentration of patients with psychological issues, including schizophrenia, and a full unit of patients on ventilators. Kiki has over 15 years of on call experience in a high-level acute care setting, with both pediatric and adult patients (University of Minnesota Hospital).


Kiki is certified in the Universal Exercise Unit/Therasuit Method and Craniosacral Therapy. She has been an adjunct professor at St. Catherine’s University for over ten years and teaches Pediatric Coursework for their Physical Therapy Assistant Program.


Kiki helped develop ATU's novel "Aquatic Therapy for the Speech Therapist" class in 2010. This first-of-its-kind class combined a positioning lab (taught by PT) with a speech & language skills (taught by a SLP). It appears to be the first class to be granted ASHA CEU credits. Kiki teaches custom seminars across the USA for Aquatic Therapy University with an emphasis on the neuro pediatric and adult populations.

CEU Approval


 1.6 ASHA CEUs being applied for
(Intermediate level, Professional area)

Order this course for your staff by selecting the checkbox above. When you order this course, we will come to your site and train your therapists personally. These onsite classes are called polyclinics and cost a flat fee of $5600 no matter how many people attend. This fee is due upon contract execution (click the link above to print out our draft agreement). You may also select the following set of add-ons:

Aquatic Therapy Boot Camp DVD Pre-Study Module

We will send you one DVD of our time-tested Aquatic Therapy Boot Camp, good for 4.0 credit hours. Facilities choose this add-on to allow their staff to prepare in advance without the need for pool downtime. Take this module at your leisure during lunches or take-home sessions. Comes with enough manuals for your entire staff.

Cost: Free

MARS Discount (Free)

Short for Marketing, Advertising and Registration Service, this add-on is designed to help you defray training costs when you open up your polyclinics to outside therapists. Going "open" allows you to transfer your registration worries to us as we tap our extensive online web presence to find you new attendees. Want to showcase your facility to your own list of outside therapists? No problem. You are free to market to your own local area and keep 100% of the registration fees. All that we ask is that if you market online, you charge the going ATU rate (currently $595).

Cost: $1000 discount

CEU Pre-Approval Service

Don't have the time or staff to fill out the myriad forms required by your state licensing board? Let our continuing-education experts handle all the paperwork headaches. We will apply for CEU pre-approvals and pay any fees required by your state PT and OT agencies for you so your therapists can concentrate on their clients.

Cost: Free

ATU Inside℠ Staff Certification

atu inside decal

Sign up for this profit-focused add-on and we will provide you with  two ATU Inside℠ window decals and a year's supply of customized marketing brochures for display in your lobby. We also will mail up to 25 brochures to any referring physicians or clinics in your area to that you specify. Get out from under your towel and let the world know that your therapists have been trained by the best!

(Now with web badges)

Cost: Free

The list below includes a few of our Add-Ons that require extra funds:

Customization Add-On

No two facilities are alike. And no ATU class has ever been a perfect fit. That is why we have made our course objectives plug-and-play, to better fit our training to your operations. Now, with our Customization Add-On, you can pick just those course objectives that best address your patient census, programming goals or staff experience. You can even mix and match topics from any of our musculo, pediatric, geriatric, neuro or sports/military tracks.

Cost: $1000

International Travel

We price our polyclinics with a flat rate price so you can know what to expect. However, with travel outside North America, we don't know what to expect! Give us your needs and we'll tell you exactly how much it will run to take our polyclinic over the pond or around the bend.

Cost: varied

Extreme Makeover Site Visit

The economy and new healthcare reform regulations are playing havoc with provider profits. If you are having problems getting patients in your doors or making your cash flow, we can help. With just a short day- or half-day session, we will come and tour your facility, interview your staff, observe your operations, review your billing procedures and analyze your programs to develop and deliver a comprehensive action report on how best to turn around your practice and make you profitable once again. A perfect pre-conference add-on when ordered with a polyclinic class. This service is worth it's weight in gold. Just ask some of our clients.

Cost: $2000 (full-day)/ $1000 (1/2 day)




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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