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Physical Therapy as a Treatment for Autism

Autism is classified as a pervasive development disorder, causing delays and abnormalities in many areas. Gross and fine motor skills delays are common in Autistic patients. These delays affect basic everyday activities including playing on the playground and holding a crayon. Children with Autism have low muscle tone and are unable to sit, stand, or walk for a prolonged period as a result. Physical therapists who specialize in pediatric therapy seek to build muscle strength and coordination. Techniques such as dance therapy, movement therapy, and general play therapy are utilized to increase the child’s skills. Pediatric physical therapists frequently travel to the child’s school site to enable practical application of these skills on the playground at the school. Sometimes aquatic therapy is used to assist the child in gaining muscle strength in a safe and comfortable environment. It is not uncommon for pediatric physical therapists to schedule group sessions with other Autistic children to enhance the experience and create a positive experience for all involved.

Autism is affecting more children with each passing year. Luckily, for the children affected with the disorder, the health care field is constantly coming up with innovative therapies to increase the child’s chances of being successful in their everyday lives.

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