This study reviewed the history of swimming and aquatic exercise intervention studies for ASD and AD/HD with the aim of contribute to the development of more effective instructional methods.
40 intervention studies screened by eligibility criteria were included in the analysis. The history of swimming and aquatic exercise for ASD and AD/HD was divided into two periods:from 1900 to 2000, before intervention studies began in earnest, and from 2000 to the present, after intervention studies began in earnest. Intervention studies were initially dominated by behavioral studies with physical functions as the outcome. Subsequently, instructional methods diversified as outcomes expanded to cognitive and socio-emotional functions, and high-quality study designs were adopted.
In the future, it is necessary to clarify the effect mechanisms of swimming and aquatic exercise and to discuss their therapeutic-educational significance.
This study examined the therapeutic-educational significance of swimming and aquatic exercise for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD) based on the knowledge accumulated in the rehabilitation field and the ICF core sets, contributing to developing of more effective instructional methods.
(i) Swimming and aquatic exercise have the potential to support the development of physical, cognitive and socio-emotional functions due to the characteristics of water and the social interactions associated with instruction, indicating its significance in developmental science.
(ii) Swimming and aquatic exercise have the potential to reduce the risk of physical and mental illness and death, improve the health of ASD and AD/HD themselves, and contribute to the quality of life of the whole family, indicating its significance in public health.
(iii) Swimming and aquatic exercise have the potential to motivate people to participate in regular exercise and sports activities, support the practice of lifelong sports, expand interactional relationships and challenge competition, indicating its significance in exercise epidemiology.
In the future, instructional methods for swimming and aquatic exercise methods should be considered in inclusive physical education classes and community sports activities.