Is there physical therapy for autism?
Physical therapy is one of the recommended treatments for those with problems in movements. It comprises of workouts and activities that can help patients improve their posture, strength, and balance. There are even cases when a patient undergoes physical therapy to fix his strength and muscle control.
One of the disorders that need physical therapy is autism. For those who are not familiar with this condition, autism is an ailment in which a person has a delay in his or her development including his motor skills and coordination. In this case, doctors might recommend the patient to have a physical therapy.
How Physical Therapy Can Help Treat Autism?
Autism can affect your everyday life, especially in terms of physical and social development. Do not worry, though, because physical therapy can lessen your day-to-day struggles.
Physical therapy requires a therapist. You cannot do this treatment if you do not have a professional working with you. This individual is in charge to create a treatment plan for you which includes the needed exercises. It is important to note that a PT must have a Masters Degree or Doctorate. Why? This professional is required to have these credentials first before giving you a set of exercises. This way, you are assured that you are in the right hands and expect that you will be treated soon.
People with autism are recommended to do some of the following exercises:
- Dance and movement therapy
- Play therapy
- Aquatic therapy
- Recreational therapy
But the exercise will depend on the condition of the patient. The age can be a factor to determine which activities to use as well.
Children with autism tend to have issues on strength and balance. There are children who are having a hard time even riding a bike. Another complication would be the lack of motor planning. These are the activities that involve hanging on a swing and so on.
In this case, the PT will focus on basic child activities such as running, rolling, and standing. The child may also be tasked to improve his gross motor skills, coordination, and strength.
But for older children, mostly in pre-school years, the activities would focus on more complicated tasks such as catching, kicking, and skipping. Aside from improving the child’s social development, these therapies can help the child engage with more people and even gain friends.
But parents must be thinking that why do they need to go to a PT when they can just teach their child those exercises? But the case is not like that. Autism is a complex disorder that even parents might find challenging. This is where the PT comes in.
The PT will provide the needed activities that can improve not only the development of the child but even his or her attention and endurance in school. The specialist will also study the child’s behavioral patterns and physical performance. These are some traits and skills of the patient that parents cannot understand. There are even cases when parents would ask for the help of a PT to learn more about their child based on these factors.
Lastly, PTs provide loads of encouragement to children. Through the different activities done during the physical therapy sessions, the child may gain confidence to interact with other people. In addition, the PT can give sessions that would help the children adopt to a new environment as well as complete complicated tasks.
How to Know If One Needs a Physical Therapist?
Treating autism will be difficult for older patients. This is why if the child already showed signs of autism at a young age, it is best that they are immediately taken to the doctor. Oftentimes, when a parent sees that his children are showing slow or inappropriate skills that are related to autism, it would be great to seek for help as early as possible.
Here are the common symptoms of autism:
- Difficulty in communication through verbal and non-verbal
- Having problems with thinking and behaving
- Cannot easily relate to other people
When these indicators appear, do not just wait for more complications to happen. Parents tend to ignore the first signs of autism and regret later when the condition is severe. It is a must that once the patient show signs, he or she is taken to the doctor immediately.
Autism Diagnoses Before Undergoing Physical Therapy
Of course, it does not mean that when the signs appear, the child will be put under physical therapy. The doctor would recommend that the child needs to be checked first. After all, the signs might be related to another condition.
The first step would be an autism screening. This procedure requires special tools to determine the condition of the child. The doctor might even ask yes or no questions. Afterward, the PT will give a feedback on the examination.
Once the doctor finds a connection between the child’s symptoms and signs of autism, he will then suggest that the patient goes to a developmental specialist. This professional will give the child a diagnostic evaluation. This will act as a level 2 examination to further check if the child really does have the condition. The evaluation consists of a series of tests.
The good news about seeking help as early as possible is that the developmental delays will be prevented. Undergoing physical therapy in autism’s early stages can help the child still improve his social development.
Where to Find a Physical Therapist?
The good news is that finding a physical is easy. There are a lot of physical therapy clinics available. Here are the clinics available for patients:
- Sports teams
- Cardiac rehab centers
- Nursing homes
- Outpatient clinics
- Private medical offices
- Assisted living homes
Autism is a serious condition that needs to be treated as early as the signs show up. One way patients or parents of the patients can do is to consult a doctor, check if there is autism, and undergo physical therapy. This type of treatment will help the patient develop his social and motor skills. It can also give patients confidence and motivation to live an independent life.