1611 – Fall Prevention Specialty Certificate Program

Beginner / 15-hour Workshop


Recorded Course Time Break Down as Follows:

Day 1: Pool: 3 hours / Classroom: 2 hours / Classroom: 2.5 hours

Day 2: Classroom: 2 hours / Pool: 2 hours

Day 3: Pool: 2 hours / Classroom: 1.5 hours


Faculty: Ruth Sova, MS, ATRIC / Donna Lewen, BA, ATRIC / Sue Grosse, MS / Melissa Lewis, MPT, ATRIC



The Fall Prevention Specialty Certificate Program is a basic course that is predominantly action based with activities that you can implement immediately with your clients. The activities are evidence-based and include the full spectrum of low-function to high-function exercises.


During the land portion of the course, you will learn background information on fall prevention, balance scales, set goals based on that background, as well as individual client needs; and then try therapeutic exercises and aquatic therapy techniques that research shows (and we have found) beneficial. Equipment progressions and precautions; discussion of the best water depth, temperature and order of exercises; and when to modify exercises will be covered. 


The following are focus segments for this course:

Balance and Gait Improvement:  Implementing fall prevention through balance and gait practice in isolation can be repetitious and tedious. Experience a variety of balance and gait training improvement activities for implementation in a group or with individuals. Develop strategies for transfer of learning to establish progressions for applying skills learned in the aquatic environment to land activities of daily living. This has valuable application to seniors, adults, teens, or tots. Everyone needs to learn, relearn or maintain balance. Gait training applies to original motor development, as well as rehabilitation.


Functional Integration:  Integrate the mind with the body and increase your clients’ balance, reaction time and coordination. Implement the Unpredictable Command Technique (UCT) into movement on land and water.  Experience creative ways to use Tai Chi, UCT, Qigong and Yoga. Yoga for the feet offers simple ways to improve balance with foot exercises. We will try a Qigong technique for inner balance for land and water.


Pain Management:  Combining balance exercises with pain amelioration techniques can improve ADL function while maintaining or creating pain-free movement. This focus segment of the certificate course will give you a tools and concepts to help your clients improve or maintain status while managing any contributing discomfort. The pool segment will use portions of BackHab, Ai Chi, Feldenkrais®, and Ai Chi Ne techniques, Kinnaird exercises, and BackHab II Progressions. The pain management work is vertical and seated work with some ambulation. 


Equipment Selection and Use: Fall prevention can be enhanced through activities using a variety of pieces of equipment. Working with or on a piece of equipment helps an individual strengthen core muscles, as well as develop kinesthetic and proprioceptive abilities. As we try specific activities for developing static and dynamic balance, we will discover how to design balance equipment-based progressions for clients of any age or function. We will use equipment to enhance the therapeutic process.


Course Materials:  Materials provided in this course include documentation forms, resource and research bibliography, a review of fall prevention and assessments, written exercises with some photos and illustrations, and descriptions of equipment use and availability.




·     Examine balance scales used to evaluate patients.

·     Investigate applications of balance and gait training for at least four functional age groups.

·     Compare and contrast applications of balance and gait training for motor development vs. rehabilitation vs.


·     Examine at least 20 different fall prevention activities using poly spots, wonderboards, squoodles, and


·     Select appropriate equipment based on client age, size, function and goals.

·     Evaluate progressions for implementing balance equipment in a total therapeutic process.

·     Experience the balance difficulties when using selected progressions from the BackHab II program.

·     Determine three safety procedures for implementation of equipment-based activities.

·     Outline a progression for transfer of balance and gait training skills from water to land activities of daily


·     Experience the fall prevention properties and appropriate application of UCT, Ai Chi, Ai Chi Ne, BackHab,

     Feldenkrais, Yoga, Tai Chi and Qigong.

·     Try simple foot exercises to improve balance. 

·     Integrate pain techniques into a fall prevention session to improve outcomes.

·     Review the link between pain and balance.


FACULTY: Ruth Sova, MS, ATRIC, founder/president of ATRI, is an internationally known speaker, author and consultant. She is the founder of six different businesses including the Aquatic Therapy & Rehab Institute, the Aquatic Exercise Association, Living Right Magazine, America’s Certification Trainers, Armchair Aerobics Inc., and the Fitness Firm. A leader in the health and wellness industry, she also draws on her vast experience as an entrepreneur to teach others what it takes to assume the risk of business and enterprise. Ruth is the author of numerous articles and 15 books on her specialties of wellness and business. She is the recipient of numerous awards including the Sevier-McCahill Disability International Foundation Award; and the John Williams, Jr. International Swimming Hall of Fame Adapted Aquatics Award. Known for her high energy and practical teaching approaches, Ruth has brought thousands of people over the years to understand the benefits of water exercise.


FACULTY:  Donna Lewen, BA, ATRIC, is founder of Lyu Ki Dou™ and owner of Liquid Assets for Fitness. She is a trainer for the Arthritis Foundation and works with geriatrics and clients with health challenges. She has been an AEA Advisory Board member and is a recognized national provider for AEA and ATRI. Donna attends a Medical Intuitive Training Program at the Center for Applied Energy Medicine. Beyond her active aquatic and private healing practice, Donna facilitates workshops on healing and spiritual self-mastery.


FACULTY:  Susan J. Grosse, MS, currently president of Aquatic Consulting & Education Resources, has over 40 years experience in aquatics as a teacher, as well as in a variety of leadership roles at the local, national, and international levels. She is past president of the American Association for Active Lifestyles and Fitness and past chair of the Aquatic Council of AAHPERD. Her publications include work in adapted aquatics, lifeguarding, instructional swim, water exercise, posttraumatic stress disorder, crisis management, contagion, and program administration. She received the ATRI Tsumani Spirit Award in 2006 and the International Swimming Hall of Fame John K. Williams Award in 2009.


FACULTY: Melissa Lewis, MPT, ATRIC, has been involved in aquatics for the past 10 years, after being introduced to the field through Paula Briggs-led Aquatic Therapy Program at West Virginia University. She is a recipient of the 2008 ATRI Tsunami Spirit Award. Melissa is currently working in North Carolina as an outpatient physical therapist specializing in aquatic therapy.