What is Physical Therapy?
Physical therapy is a treatment option for those children with autism spectrum disorder, that need help developing age-appropriate motor skills, have low muscle tone, or problems with physical systems such as breathing control, etc. Older children on the spectrum can also benefit from carefully constructed exercise programs, which may be led by a physical therapist.
Developmental Coordination Disorder, also known as dyspraxia, is a disorder causing difficulty in activities requiring coordination and movement. Movement coordination difficulties affect child’s participation and functioning of everyday life skills in education, play, work and employment. Children face difficulties with self-care, writing, typing, and riding a bike as well as other recreational activities.
In adulthood these difficulties might continue, such as difficulty in walking on different terrains or driving a car. This includes social and emotional difficulties as well as problems with time management, planning and personal organization, affecting their day to day functioning. Thus, it is important to identify these issues in children by parents as well as therapists.
These physical deficits are of major concern as they result in abnormal balance, clumsy functioning, early fatigue, walking abnormalities, lethargy, reduced running speed, difficulty in climbing on the climbing frame or hanging from monkey bars. Due to presence of certain sensory issues children often exhibit toe walking which can in turn affect their balance, cause tightness in their calves, weakness in leg muscles and, alter walking pattern. Many autistic children gain weight if they have an inactive lifestyle, and weight gain brings another set of problems.
The goals of physical therapy is determined after thorough examination and assessment, and is tailor-made to your child’s requirement, with inputs from you as parents, your physicians, and other members of your child’s autism treatment team.