Children with autism have difficulty with their motor skills, such as running, jumping, climbing stairs and holding a pencil to write. As they lack motor skills, they do not have good social skills. They also experience trouble doing simple things buttoning their shirts, brushing their teeth and need someone to help them. All these drawbacks have a lot of impact on their well-being.
Problems with movement are common in children with autism. Physical therapy, through activities and exercises, can help to improve movement skills, strength, posture, and balance. Thus, the aim of physical therapy for autism is to build muscle control so that he/she can move about more easily and also play with other children. A physical therapist helps children with ‘motor planning’ to develop skills to climb a swing and get it moving.
Children with autism often develop physical symptoms that can be treated with physical therapy. A physical therapist involves exercises to treat a range of limb coordination difficulties. They are trained to rebuild lost muscle strength, mobility, and motor skills. These therapists work with both young children and adults to develop their undeveloped motor skills such as sitting, standing, rolling, and running. Later they may work on skills such as skipping, throwing and catching which are important for not only physical development but also for engaging them in social engagement and general play.
Physical therapists work with specially trained education aides and teach parents a few techniques for building gross motor skills, muscle strength, and coordination.
Impact Of Physical Therapy For Autism
Before enrolling a child for physical therapy, the physical therapist conducts a complete evaluation of each individual’s functional and developmental level to confirm about their individual needs. He/she chalks out appropriate strategies to assist them in the following ways:
- Improve sitting and standing posture
- Improve muscle strength for optimal movement
- Increase the feeling of independence
- Improve body awareness
- Provide body control while moving
- Ability to gain improved motor skills
- Promote safety awareness
- Promote cardiovascular endurance
- Provide improved sensory input and attention
As therapeutic exercises impact a body by releasing endorphins into the body, improving balance, coordination and overall health, it has a positive impact on the mood of individuals with autism. They gain new health benefits which lead to enhanced ability to focus. Physical therapy also reduces a few behavioral problems associated with an autism spectrum disorder.
Along with the physical benefits, physical exercises and workouts have shown vast improvement in the sleep pattern after a full day of strenuous activity.
It is relatively easy to find a physical therapist in your locality who will help with in-depth information about the benefits of physical therapy for autism.