What is the BEWATER Project?

The BEWATER programme is aimed at children and adolescents with intellectual disabilities. It is based on aquatic interventions not only in the field of health but also in other areas such as recreation, education and, sport, depending on the interests of the individual. The programme is unique at it aims to help children with intellectual disabilities to achieve both therapy and education goals by working together as a team using the specific characteristics of the pool environment.

Research has shown many physical and psychological benefits of carrying out therapy in the pool such as improved movement skills and increased self esteem. Aquatic intervention is beneficial as it allows the individual with disabilities to interact and participate in their own activities providing them with the same opportunities and rights as their peers, including opportunities for learning. Including aquatic activity in the curriculum for students allows us to complement their other educational and therapeutic interventions aimed at achieving specific objectives throughout the school year. 

The BEWATER programme uses a transdisciplinary approach. This means that we work together as a team which includes the child, their family, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, speech and language therapy and teachers. The contribution of the different team members offers a more real and more holistic perspective and is more inclusive. Thus transdisciplinary work has become a mandatory requirement for intervention in the BEWATER methodology. 

Transdisciplinary interventions are adapted to meet the individual needs of the child depending on their specific therapeutic and educational goals. We attach great importance to reflecting a number of specific objectives in the aquatic interventions that will meet the needs of the individual. These objectives are to: 

  • Enhance mobility, balance and coordination,
  • Improve fitness,
  • Stimulate sensorimotor and cognitive components necessary to promote independence and autonomy in activities of daily living. 
  • Improve communication, language, respiratory coordination and orofacial structures. 
  • Train and strengthen cognitive processes to enhance knowledge and learning of socialization skills, self-esteem and well-being. 

 We integrate the benefits of water with therapeutic and educational activities along with: 

  • the incorporation of innovative teaching materials,  
  • reinforcing skills and competencies to be acquired,  
  • Maintain and improve those skills, which have been developed in their natural environment to extrapolate the lessons to their social and family environment. 

The BEWATER team are developing a guide for staff and families who want to carry out transdisciplinary interventions for children with intellecutal disabilities in the pool.