“Does my child need physical therapy?” This is a question therapists hear quite often. Whether it is the result of an injury, some type of disease or disability, or whether it is for a short term situation or for a longer period, the answer is most likely yes if you’re having to ask.
General Benefits Of PT For Children
The goals of physical therapy are to improve movement, decrease any pain, and help children to participate in normal daily activities. A therapist can help children learn exercises to regain any loss of strength or range of motion. In addition, they can help with developmental activities like crawling and walking, plus balance and coordination
If a child has been injured, a therapist can treat them with water therapy, improve circulation with heat, cold, massage, and ultrasound, provide flexibility exercises to increase range of motion, and instruct them how to avoid any future injuries.
Special Needs Children And Physical Therapy
Physical activity is as important for a child with disabilities as it is for any other child. Sometimes parents are wary of having their special needs child do too much. They worry their child will get hurt, but the benefits of physical activity through physical therapy are lasting and rewarding for any child with disabilities.
The goals of physical therapy for special needs children are to maximize their independence by teaching children how to care for themselves and perform day to day activities and tasks. Physical therapists work with parents to improve gross motor skills, muscle tone, endurance, range of motion in joints, and improve their overall quality of life.
Encouraging your child to become active in some type of activity or sports has multiple benefits for them like the following:
- Improved social skills and self-esteem
- Healthier bone density
- Improved motor skills
- Improved cognitive health
Special needs children can participate in many types of activities like playing tennis or basketball even though they may be confined to a wheelchair. The same is true for swimming and floating in a pool. This feeling of independence will give them self-confidence and new meaning in their lives.
Physical Therapy And Autism
Not every child on the autism spectrum needs physical therapy, but if they do, special individualized programs can be developed for their specific needs.
The goal is to improve gross motor skills as they move through their environment, promote balance and coordination skills, strengthen muscle tone, and learn functional mobility.
Therapists use child-friendly toys and activities to motivate children into participating in the therapy. Balls, swings, and slides are typically found in a therapy gym. That way children have fun while learning to succeed at tasks therapists have designed for them.
Almost all children can benefit from physical therapy and sporting activities. Encourage your child with disabilities to participate in group activities and sports where they can succeed and have fun. There is nothing better than to see your child’s smile after they conquer a new task.