The Darien YMCA is introducing a new aquatic exercise program for special needs children. The program pairs a child with a physical therapist and aims to extend the benefits of aquatic exercise to children with physical, developmental, sensory or neurological issues who demonstrate an interest or level of comfort in the water.

Aquatic exercise is an exercise-based aquatic recreation program, created by qualified physical therapists to promote joint health, as well as aid in decreasing sensory, physical and developmental issues. Although this is not a medical program, a specially trained physical therapist will perform aquatic exercises and activities with a child while using the soothing properties of the water. The warmth and buoyancy of the water, along with its hydrostatic pressure and gentle resistance, offers participants an improved range of motion, strength and sensory integration.

Children who participate in the aquatic exercise program might be able to learn movements that would otherwise be difficult for them to learn on land. The physiological benefits include: decreased pain; increased endurance; increased circulation; and increased sensory processing.

Each session is one-on-one for approximately 45 minutes of exercise in the water. Parents are welcome to share in this experience by getting in the pool with their child to learn and assist with the benefits on aquatic exercise.

The Darien Y is the largest provider of special needs recreational programs in Darien. This new program will complement our current special needs swim lessons, and the Saturday Swim Club.

To reserve a session, contact Amy D'Andrea at or call 203-655-8228, ext. 1307.

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