Children with autism and other neurodevelopmental delays face several challenges in everyday life. They need the required support and treatment options to develop their deficits and lost motor skills. Physical therapy for autism are exercises that are done through the process of play. These strategies are designed to enhance strength, balance, muscle coordination, stamina, mobility, and confidence.
Physical exercises get the muscles, joints, and reflexes working in an organized way to create smooth motor movements. Post therapy, children with autism feel comfortable sitting on a chair, maintaining a good posture, walking without losing balance and also climbing stairs.
Physical Difficulties In Children With Autism
A developmental delay in children with autism is the lack of age-appropriate skills in developmental areas such as cognitive, speech and, fine and gross motor. Physical developmental delay is marked with holding up their head, difficulty in rolling over, crawling, sitting up, walking and jumping.
Low Muscle Tone:
Muscle tone is essential for holding-up bodies when sitting or standing. Lack of muscle tone leads to bad posture and affect gross motor development.
Decreased Body Awareness
Children with ASD have a lack of awareness about their body parts. They are more accident-prone.
Who Can Benefit?
A physical therapist or a physiotherapist has experience working with children having a variety of symptoms. The physical training is accomplished with innovative approaches to assist children with issues including:
- Poor muscle coordination
- High/low muscle tone
- Sensory-processing troubles that result in damaging physical effects
- Gait challenges (tip-toe walking)
- Postural issues while sitting, standing or jumping
- Delayed motor milestones
Role Of A Physical Therapist
Physical therapy for autism targets:
- Basic Skills: Physical therapy helps children experiencing a developmental delay to improve their gross motor skills. This helps the children to sit, roll over, stand and run.
- Coordination: Physical therapy focuses on improving the necessary muscles to improve balance and limb coordination.
- Develop reciprocal-play skills: By using various strategies, a physical therapist help children develop ‘interacting and reacting’ activities such as throwing and catching a ball.
- Growing Stamina: Physical therapy for autism focus on increasing the body stamina in the participants. They involve sports such as kicking, jumping and running.
Why Is Physical Intervention Necessary For Autistic Children?
By participating in physical activities, children can improve their strength and coordination. Some of the benefits they reap through physical therapy are:
- Improvement in Behaviours: Children with autism are prone to aggression when they find difficulty in expressing themselves. Physical therapy helps in decreasing maladaptive behaviours through various activities. This reduces stress and frustration in children.
- Improvement In Overall Health: Participating in physical activities help children to stay active. This also decreases the risk of health issue such as obesity.
- Increase Independence: Exercises develop motor ability in kids with autism. They can easily accomplish activities like climbing stairs that require gross motor skills. Physical therapy for autism improves strength and stamina. This can positively affect improvement in their daily activities.
For parents, the therapist also creates exercises that can be also done at home. The goal of the therapy is to build the essential physical strength for a standard living.