Pediatric Physical Therapy

What exactly is a Physical Therapist?

IT4K’s Physical Therapists are trained to work with kiddos to build or rebuild strength, mobility and motor skills. Many of our PTs hold a Master’s or Doctorate Degree in Physical Therapy and have worked in the field as an intern before working on their own.

Our pediatric therapists are frequently called upon to offer consultation to teachers, parents and day care providers on how to include all children for the best results. Therapists can also apply the knowledge of motor-learning theories to support children to help achieve essential skills during play.

Why Would a Person With Autism Need to See a Physical Therapist?

Autism is a pervasive developmental disorder. This means that most people on the autism spectrum have delays, differences or disorders in many areas — including gross and fine motor skills. Children on the spectrum may have low muscle tone, or have a tough time with coordination and sports. These issues can interfere with basic day-to-day functioning — and they’re almost certain to interfere with social and physical development.

Children with autism would rarely be termed physically disabled (though there are some autistic children with very low muscle tone, which may make it difficult to sit or walk for long periods). Most children with autism do, however, have physical limitations which can be improved with time spent in Physical Therapy.

Should I Combine PT With Other Therapies?

As all children typically learn from “gross to fine,” having a PT work to refine motor control with larger muscle groups, posture, balance, coordination and gross motor skills, will often support progress in OT and ST goals as well by providing a solid foundation in movement and motor control.

Some children on the Autism Spectrum demonstrate incoordination of their muscles, often performing motor skills “hard and fast,” without the consistent ability to slowly control their motions. While movement, in general, is what they typically prefer, as opposed to staying still, their overall quality of motor skill may be poor or limited to very isolated, repetitive patterns.

Physical Therapy helps to retrain movement patterns and balance muscle activation in order to promote improved control and grading (slowing) of motor skills as well as encourages more refined quality to their movements.

Use of repetitive patterning exercises throughout the developmental sequence can often be helpful with integrating postural reflexes and balance reactions that may not yet be fully integrated. Physical Therapy provides that solid foundation in movement and motor control that can greatly support reaching therapeutic goals in Occupational and Speech Therapy sessions.

Why would your child need Physical Therapy?

  • Does your child have a history of delayed development?
  • Was he/she slow to progress through gross motor milestones like crawling?
  • Any signs of weakness and/or tightness in their muscles?
  • Does your child “favor” one side more than the other?
  • Does your child utilize awkward patterns of movement?
  • Does the child always perform skills FAST, or do they “drop” to the floor & “jump” down the stairs?
  • Does your child sit in a “W” shape?
  • Do they walk on their toes?
  • Are they able to use trunk rotation for reaching across their midline?
  • Can they dissociate left/right legs from each other and from their trunk?
  • Or are they moving as a single “unit” without segments in a “stiff” manner?
  • Can your child stay still & balance in different positions or do they need to be moving?
  • Have they ever worn orthotics?
  • Do they avoid playing coordinated activities or sports?
  • Is your child sedentary & has poor endurance or weight issues?

If YES, your child may need Physical Therapy.

Developed by ONE Element