When talking about physical therapy, many wonder if it can benefit children. The answer is yes, physical therapy is beneficial for kids. In fact, physical therapy is known to help children with autism. Of course, adults with autism can also be helped by physical therapy. If you want to know more about physical therapy for autistic kids, continue reading below.
What Is A Physical Therapist?
A physical therapist is someone trained to work with people who have problems with their physical strength, flexibility, mobility and motor skills. A physical therapist should hold a masters or doctorate degree in order to practice on his or her own. Physical therapists can work in a clinical setting or take on private treatments at the patient’s residence. Most of their work is about helping people recover from injuries or physical difficulties caused by a sickness or illness. A physical therapist develops a treatment plan for each patient. Activities include hippotherapy, movement therapy, recreational therapy and aquatic therapy.
Physical Therapy And Autistic Children
Autism is a developmental disorder, which can cause delays in the fine and gross motor skills of children. Autistic children will have low muscle tone and will have a hard time with coordination. Such difficulties will interfere with the basic daily functioning of children, which is why help from a physical therapist is needed. However, do not mistake autistic children as physically disabled because they are not. These children just have physical limitations, which somehow restrict them from engaging in different activities.
How Can Physical Therapy Help?
For very young children, a physical therapist can help them improve their motor skills like playing, rolling, sitting and standing. The physical therapist will also work with the parents to teach them techniques that they can do at home. It is very important that the child’s therapy continue at home. Muscle strength and coordination can only be achieved through continuous exercises.
If the autistic child is in preschool already, a physical therapist can help the child with skills like skipping, throwing, catching and kicking. These skills are necessary for kids to enjoy sports and general play with other children. Autistic children should not feel left out and the more that they gain independence with their actions, the more sociable they can be.
When looking for a physical therapist, it will be wise to consult a pediatrician first. This way, you will be assured of what your child really needs.