Children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) experience a variety of developmental differences, delays, and disorders. While common behaviors associated with ASD include lack of eye contact, biting, rocking, hand flapping, and fixation on certain routines, another issue is often low muscle tone and difficulty with gross motor coordination.
This means that children with ASD can have trouble running, kicking, and throwing— the typical activities that youngsters delight in, and which provide opportunities for socialization from a young age.
Physical therapists are trained to help with issues involving physical development. They work with children on building muscle strength, coordination, and mastering the physical skills critical to fitting in during recess, sports, and physical education. In this way, physical therapists aid not only in improving motor skills, but also in laying the groundwork for better socialization among peers.
Once a formal diagnosis of ASD is made by a trained specialist such as a Developmental Pediatrician or Child Psychologist, a Physical Therapist can help your child in gaining the typical motor skill development needed at their age level.
Children with autism spectrum disorder benefit from physical therapy because it can be customized to deal with their specific challenges in coordination for play and self-care, social situations, and daily living activities.
Some of the key areas in which a physical therapist can help children with ASD are:
Physical therapists are movement experts, and they can help children with physical developmental delays make the most of the abilities they have, as well as improving the basics of strength, posture, and balance.
Physical Therapy is most effective when children begin treatment programs early, between the ages of 0 and 3. With very young children, physical therapists often focus on basic motor skills like sitting, rolling, standing, and running.
Starting physical therapy at a young age is often part of “Early Intervention.” Parents choose Early Intervention therapies because they have been shown to yield benefits both immediate and life-long in areas such as behavior, academic achievement, delinquency and crime, and eventual career attainment.
Physical Therapy is often used in combination with Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) therapy.
ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis) is a science-based technique for behavioral engineering that starts with understanding the basis of behaviors and then rewarding positive behaviors and discouraging negative ones. ABA is used to help children with autism improve their social, communication, and play skills.
When used in conjunction with physical therapy, ABA therapy adds its techniques in positive behavior reinforcement to enhance training areas like stretching and flexibility, balance, eye-hand coordination, and more.
ABA is used to help children with autism improve their social, communication, and play skills. Positive reinforcement and individualized treatment plans can result in positive and meaningful behavioral change for children with ASD.
To learn more about the benefit of Developmental Therapy and ABA Therapy for children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, call TEIS Early Intervention at 412-271-8347 or visit our Contact Us page to get help today.