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  • Writer's pictureShayna Gavin, Splash Principal Physiotherapist

World Confederation of Physical Therapy Congress, Cape Town

Shayna with her poster at the WCPT Congress, South Africa

I had the privilege of presenting this poster at the Congress of the World Confederation of Physical Therapy, in Cape Town, South Africa.

It is presented in 3 columns:

  • the approach used

  • Roy at 13 months of age

  • Roy at 2.5 years of age

You can see the clinical reasoning, and photos of his pre and post tests (that is, how his active movement changed after a single session), and how this relates to his functional and participation goals.

Once more, many thanks to the lovely Roy and his family for allowing me to use his images for this presentation.

I will write more about my experiences at the Congress, and physiotherapy trip afterwards, and share some photos of the communities, health services, and wild animals we visited!

But for now, here's the poster, and abstract, and a cheesy photo of me at the Congress! I'll also put the original poster up at the pools for some time each so you can have a look through and ask me any questions.

WCPT poster by Shayna Gavin, 2017

(Abstract at the end of this post)

Physios from all over the world reading each other's work and enjoying the posters:

Physios looking at posters WCPT 2017 Cape Town

And some photos from the spectacular opening ceremony, including the WCPT President Emma Stokes during her speech, and hundreds of us being led in drumming combinations.

The presentations and discussion panels I went to during the congress were very interesting, and from a huge variety of areas. I was too engaged to remember to take photos, sorry! But the WCPT is putting up a lot of the posters and presentations on its website, and I will share the link once that is available.

More to come!


  1. Title:

  2. Paediatric aquatic physiotherapy and improvements in active movement related to functional and participation goals: case studies of single sessions

  3. Author: Shayna Gavin

  4. Background: Paediatric aquatic physiotherapy sessions were videoed to present the application of clinical reasoning in planning treatment sessions, including pre- and post- tests and novel treatment strategies.

  5. Purpose: Change in active movement and motor control is an expected outcome within each paediatric aquatic physiotherapy session. These changes are steps towards achieving the child and family’s participation and functional goals.

  6. Methods: Assessment and treatment sessions are play based, strengths based, and family centred. A land based home visit allows for thorough assessment, treatment planning, and to begin development of a relationship with the child and family. The ICF model is used to develop goals with the child and family, and to inform clinical reasoning. Novel treatment strategies are developed combining motor learning, Contemporary NDT, Halliwick and swim teaching, with deliberate use of water properties and novel equipment. Poolside spaces are used for land - based pre- and post- tests, and to facilitate carryover to land. The Australian Physiotherapy Association Aquatic Guidelines 2015 inform risk screening and management. The health and education team working with the family are consulted to assist in risk management and coordination of goals.

  7. Results:

  8. Changes in a child’s ability to actively move during a 30 minute aquatic physiotherapy session are demonstrated by land based pre- and post- tests. Swim safer skills and behaviours can be developed alongside land based goals within a session.

  9. Conclusions: Goal directed, play based aquatic physiotherapy can draw from multiple treatment approaches to see improvements in active movement and motor control within each session, that has carry over in working towards functional and participation goals. Swim safer behaviours and skills should be included in paediatric aquatic physiotherapy sessions.

  10. Implications: Aquatic physiotherapy can be used to work towards land based participation and function goals in paediatrics

  11. Keywords: aquatic physiotherapy, hydrotherapy, paediatrics, neurodevelopmental, cerebral palsy

  12. Funding acknowledgements: unfunded

Shayna Gavin is a physiotherapist who is passionate about helping babies, children and young people learn functional skills so they can participate in life at home, school and in their community. Recognising that children do best in their own environments, she visits homes, schools, and leisure activities from football fields to ballet classes. She also has daily aquatic physiotherapy sessions available at two private swimming schools in Moonee Ponds and Greensborough, Melbourne. She combines principles of paediatric physiotherapy, Neuro Developmental Treatment / Bobath, motor learning, Sensory Integration and swimming teaching to address the individual needs of each child and their family. She loves providing professional development to physiotherapists, allied health and education professionals, allied health assistants and swimming teachers.

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