North Star Aquatic Therapy

Quench your Thirst for Aquatic Therapy Knowledge

Aquatic Therapy for the Speech Language Pathologist

Location: Hudson, WI (Located approximately 30 minutes from Minneapolis, MN)

DATE CHANGE: October 26-27, 2019

Hours: 16 hours

Instructors: Andrea (Dre) Kane, M.S., CCC-SLP & Kiki Dickinson, MPT, PAqI

CCUs: 16 CCUs (ASHA applied for and previously approved for this course)

ATU Course #: PS891

Cost: $595

Only held every 3 to 4 years

ASHA approval being applied for


An entire 16 hour course packed into 2 days designed specifically for the SLP addressing why the pool is an effective and motivating environment for working with both children and adults in an aquatic environment.

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.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this course, participants will be able to:

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 (Ameriprise Financial Services, 86 Coulee Rd. Hudson, WI 54016)

8:30-12:00 Lecture

12:00-1:00 Lunch

1:00-3:40 Pool lab (St. Croix Therapy, 742 Stebenz Dr Hudson, WI 54016)

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

Lecture Location:

Ameriprise Financial Building

The Overlook Room

86 Coulee Road

Hudson, WI 54016

Lab Location:

St. Croix Therapy

742 Sterbenz Drive

Hudson, WI 54016

Meet your Instructors

Dre Kane, M.S., CCC-SLP

Andrea (Dre) Kane has been practicing speech-language pathology for 16 years, Dre received her Master's Degree from UW-River Falls in 2003. Dre is an experienced therapist working with pediatrics and previously with adults (3 years working in a day program). Dre has supervisory experience which includes program development and clinical administration. Dre currently is the Team Lead at St. Croix Therapy for Children and Adults. Dre currently provides inpatient speech and language services to children at St. Croix Therapy in Hudson, WI, which includes a large focus on aquatic therapy. Dre co-taught the first ever ASHA approved aquatic therapy course in the USA with Aquatic Therapy University and she loves facilitating and instructing mastery of therapeutic goals by incorporating the aquatic medium.

Dre has specialized training with Prompt, SOS, Interactive Metronome, and PECS with several specialized treatment techniques including Talk Tools, Beckman Oral Motor and assessment and treatment of oral-motor, feeding/swallowing and respiratory-phonatory function in infants and children with neuromotor development. Dre enjoys the integral approach to treatment with physical and occupational therapists in all areas with children and adults having speech and language concerns and/or feeding issues.

Kiki Dickinson, MPT, PAqI

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 been a Pediatric Physical Therapist since 1995. Kiki works at St. Croix Therapy (Therapeutic Services for Children and Adults) in Hudson, Wisconsin and has 20+ years of experience developing and implementing aquatic therapy programs for a diverse pediatric population which includes working with children of all ages including the birth-to-three population.

Kiki teaches custom seminars nationally and internationally for Aquatic Therapy University (ATU) with an emphasis on the neuro pediatric population. Kiki has helped develop course manuals for several pediatric courses for ATU. Recently Kiki and her business partner Kim Gordon have established their own company North Star Aquatic Therapy offering aquatic therapy courses for both the pediatric and adult populations.

Kiki is certified in Halliwick, Bad Ragaz, Ai Chi and Cranio-sacral Therapy. Kiki has her Aquaticist℠ credential’s from ATU. Kiki is an adjunct professor at St. Catherine’s University for over 20 years and teaches Pediatric Coursework for their Physical Therapy Assistant Program.

Cancellation Policy


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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