A pediatric physiotherapist is an expert in gross motor skill development. As a part of a team, a physiotherapist ensures that your child with ASD is working towards their gross motor milestones and skills so that they are able to physically keep up with their peers.
Children with ASD often achieve early gross motor milestones (sitting and walking) within normal timeline, but tend to fall behind their peers as the gross motor skills become more refined and sophisticated.
Areas of intervention
- Gross motor skills – Using large muscles for sitting, standing, walking, running etc.
- Balance/coordination skills-Involves the brain, bones and muscles in a coordinated effort for smooth movement. For e.g.: – Climbing stairs, jumping etc.
- Strengthening- building muscles for support and endurance. For e.g.: – walk for a distance without getting tired.
- Functional mobility/Motor planning- Moving through space, day to day for independence and efficiency. For e.g.: – climb onto the rocking chairs and make it back and forth.
Services provided by a physical therapist for autistic kids includes
- An assessment of the child’s skills to determine their gross motor development.
- 1:1 therapy
- Group based therapy
- Consultation to other professionals involves in providing a service to your child.
What specific skills/experience should a physiotherapist have to effectively support children with ASD
The therapist should be trained and have experience working with children with ASD and other developmental challenges. The therapist should have an understanding of the challenges that kids with ASD face, including sensory integration and possesses behavior management techniques for different situations and environments.
Difference between OT & PT in Autism care
Occupational therapy – OT will help a child develop increased fine motor skills that enable him/her to write, colour, use eating utensils, manipulate a pencil, or open containers and packages. It also helps a child in areas of self-care such as grooming, dressing, toileting, bathing, feeding etc. along with fine motor and self-care skills. OT may work on increasing a child’s visual motor, cognition and decision making skills, as well as sensory processing skills.
Physical Therapy– Physical therapist focuses on providing a child with skills in the areas of mobility and gross motor skills that will help him/her engage in daily activities to the best of their ability. Some mobility and gross motor tasks that physical therapists work on include helping a child to walk, crawl, jump, stand, kick and skip. They can also work on increasing a child’s balance and coordination.