Physical therapy may be an option for children with developmental difficuties, ASD, TBI, and other concerns impacting development. The area of concern/delay may be underdevelopment of musculature and neuroanatomy, delayed motor control, weak muscle tone and impaired breathing control. These areas of physical delay limit functional development.
Both young and older children, teens and adults can benefit from a carefully designed exercise program provided by a physical therapist.
As with other therapies, the goals of physical therapy will be determined on an individual basis with the input of parents, physicians, and other members of the treatment team.
Physical therapist can help a child with developmental difficulties learn a variety of age-appropriate motor skills, from throwing, catching, and kicking a ball to jumping, hopping, and riding a bike to other less playful physical therapies such as:
– Treating impairments in the systems that impact motor function, such as
problems with respiratory control and coordination
– Improving posture
– Addressing misalignments in the musculoskeletal system, such as chest
wall deformities, and foot and ankle misalignments
– Developing fitness programs for older children with autism; for
example, yoga classes for autistic children
A physical therapist is a member of an interdisciplinary team. A pediatric physical therapist is an expert in gross motor skill development. As part of a team, a physical therapist ensures that child is working towards their gross motor milestones and skills so that they are able to physically keep up with their peers.
A physical therapist can provide:
- An assessment of child’s skills to determine their gross motor development
- 1:1 therapy
- Group based therapy
- Consultation to other professionals involved in providing services to the child