Autism is mostly understood as a disorder that affects human development in more than one way. Autistic children have their sensory, cognitive, psychological, emotional, and motor skills affected, which altogether, makes it difficult for their minds and bodies to function normally.
Thus, even though the disorder roots in the mind of a human, it leads to physical disabilities, which is why various types of therapies are required in the treatment process, which children and adults affected benefit from immensely.
What is Physiotherapy?
Physiotherapy in simple terms, refers to forms of treatment applied on the body in order to improve and restore mobility and normal physical function. The type, intensity, and duration of therapy mostly depends on the severity of the damage/condition. Physiotherapy is frequently opted for post injuries from sport or accidents, surgery, child birth, or when there is a loss or restricted mobility caused by other health conditions such as cancer or heart issues.
However, when it comes to individuals with autism spectrum disorder, physiotherapy becomes required to improve gross motor skills, coordination, and physical disabilities/difficulties that are primarily caused by neurological and musculoskeletal factors.
Balance and Coordination
Children with Autism can struggle to perform actions as basic as sitting, standing and walking steadily. Such difficulties are caused by the lack of coordination and trouble maintaining posture (which are quite typical where autism spectrum disorder is concerned).
Focused Physical therapy can help improve such gross motor skills significantly and help children ‘move’ normally to point where they can perform daily activities on their own.
When it comes to toddlers and children with autism, a major delay in reaching basic milestones, or simply not being able to at all are not uncommon. This can be a serious worry to parents, even heartbreaking to watch their child unable to sit by herself or crawl normally.
However, early interventions and consistently applied therapy and physical exercise should help children develop these abilities, perhaps at a slower phase, and eventually reach these expected milestone seven if it happens a lot later than expected. In other words, Autism Physiotherapy should help reach delayed milestones, which otherwise may not be achieved at all.
Lack of confidence again, is a typical characteristic seen in almost every Autistic child. It is sometimes difficult to understand if this is actually a characteristic in itself or is a consequence of their disabilities. Nevertheless, physiotherapy and exercise has proven to build and boost self confidence in Autistic children. The fact that they gradually become able to do simple things themselves provides enough spiritual and moral boost, resulting in increased self-confidence.
As mentioned previously, it is important to understand that the key to making physiotherapy (and other) successful is to start on these treatment methods at the earliest. As for children, treatment and therapy should ideally begin as early as the first two years of their lives as this is when most of their minds and bodies develop significantly. Thus, the key to successful therapy and achieving expected results is to intervene while the mind and body allows it.