How can a Physio help your autistic child?

Traditionally parents of children with Autism have called upon Occupational therapists and Speech therapists to meet their child's therapy needs but Physiotherapy also has an important part to play in helping children with Autism meet their life goals.

Physiotherapists help people with many skills that are instrumental for learning skills in other areas like social behaviour, communication and academic engagement.

Physiotherapy supports gross motor development, this means using muscles for sitting, standing. These things sound simple enough but children with autism often suffer with low muscle tone meaning that their muscles have to work much harder to maintain posture and they can fatigue much more quickly than other children.  

Physiotherapy uses targeted exercises, disguised as fun games, to help to increase muscle fatiguability meaning that a child is able to sit at his desk at school more easily for a greater amount of time which in turn leads to less disruption to completing school work.

Walking and running are complex motor tasks involving motor planning, spatial awareness, balance and co ordination. Physios have the skills to help children to become stronger in all these areas by working to resolve problems like toe walking and achieving motor milestones. If motor planning can be improved then participating in sports, dancing and playing with their friends at kindy or in the playground becomes easier and reduces the stress of being in group situations which can make mastering those social behaviours so much easier.

Difficulties with fine motor skills like handwriting, using scissors or tying shoelaces are often a result of poor hand eye co ordination and difficulty regulating finger pressure.  This can cause frustration and put further strain on learning. Physiotherapists can provide exercise programs focused on improving hand eye co ordination and hand function which are enjoyable to complete and result in better hand function.

Physiotherapists are an important and valuable member of your child’s Allied health team. Book you child in for a Physiotherapy appointment at Active Life for kids and see how our multidisciplinary approach benefits your child and helps them achieve their goals sooner.

Get your child on the road to achieving their goals even sooner by ordering your Free Motor planning skills exercise booklet.