Child Physical Therapy: Autism and Physical Therapy

Children with autism spectrum disorder present with challenges related to social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and language, and sensory processing. Speech, behavior, and occupational therapy is recommended to improve communication, behavior, and sensory deficits in children with autism spectrum disorder. Along with these disciplines, physical therapy is a crucial component of an autism treatment team. Physical therapists focus on improving a child’s balance, posture, and incoordination to improve engagement and participation in everyday activities.

 Jake Guild - Flickr

Jake Guild - Flickr

What is physical therapy?

Pediatric physical therapists help guide children through physical milestones. Areas of intervention include gross motor skills, balance/coordination skills, strengthening, and functional mobility. 

What are common physical deficits in ASD?

Children with autism spectrum disorder may experience some of the following physical challenges:

·      Decreased eye-hand coordination

·      Difficulty controlling posture

·      Lack of Coordination

·      Poor balance and instability

·      Low muscle tone

Research has shown that children with autism may also demonstrate toe-walking ankle stiffness, and motor apraxia.

Physical Therapy treatment for ASD

Pediatric physical therapy utilizes play and therapy techniques to improve balance and posture in children with autism. Improving posture in sitting, standing, and walking can build endurance and increase attention during school-time activities. Once a child feels secured and balanced, they can focus on other areas such as socializing, interacting, and playing. Physical therapists improve the lives of Children with ASD by improving their day-to-day functioning.

 

Learn more about Autism on our blog: Autism and Sensory Integration, Autism Awareness, Art and Autism, and many more articles!

 

LUMIERE THERAPY TEAM🖐️

 

Resources:

“Autism Spectrum Disorder.” American Physical Therapy Association, 31 Oct. 2014, www.moveforwardpt.com/SymptomsConditionsDetail.aspx?cid=a6482e75-65c6-4c1f-be36-5f4a847b2042.

“The Role of the Pediatric Physical Therapist for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.”Center for Autism Research, www.carautismroadmap.org/the-role-of-the-pediatric-physical-therapist-for-children-with-autism-spectrum-disorder/.

Wang, Judy. “Physical Therapy for Children with Autism.” North Shore Pediatric Therapy, Judy Wang, PT, DPT Http://nspt4kids.Com/Wp-Content/Uploads/2016/05/nspt_2-Color-logo_noclaims.Png, 13 Jan. 2015, nspt4kids.com/autism/physical-therapy-children-autism/.