How Physical Therapy Helps Children with Autism

Incorporating physical therapy into a  child with autism's treatment plan can be beneficial in various ways. First of all, physical therapy can help autistic children develop the appropriate physical skills so that activities like throwing or catching a ball, skipping and jumping will be easy.

Physical therapy may be an option for children with autism who need help developing motor skills appropriate for their age group, have little or no muscle tone, or have difficulty with any aspect of their physical system. Older children with autism can also benefit from strategically-developed exercise programs, which can be facilitated by a physical therapist at Kidz Therapy Networks in Suwanee.

Treatment plans for children with autism are determined on an individualized basis, and suggestions from parents, physicians and other members of the autism treatment team will be taken into consideration in order to develop the most appropriate and effective plan.

Autism Symptoms Addressed by Physical Therapy


Our therapists can help children with autism learn a variety of age-appropriate motor skills, which will help with activities like riding a bike, kicking a ball, hopping and catching. Unfortunately, not all physical therapies required by autistic children are fun. Some of these include:

  • Treating impairments in the systems that impact motor function, including problems with respiratory control and coordination, and even posture.
  • Addressing misalignments in the musculoskeletal system, deformities in the chest wall, foot and ankle.
  • Developing fitness programs for older children with autism

It's easy to develop therapeutic fitness programs for older children with autism. Such programs can drastically improve gross motor skills, which can also have a positive impact on self-esteem and even improve communication.

When to Involve a Physical Therapist

If your infant is exhibiting signs of low muscle tone or isn't developing appropriate motor skills, you can request an evaluation by a physical therapist before the age of one. There is a Federally-based Early Intervention Program that provides therapies to children various developmental disabilities. These programs may be utilized up to age 21.

Statistics say that the sooner autism therapy is started, the better off the child will be. Physical therapists can become involved even before a diagnosis is given if a child has even the most minute motor impairment that negatively impacts movement. Physical therapists also become involved with rehabilitation after injuries, since autism is not always a primary diagnosis. For example, a child might have had a fractured and be in rehabilitation for physical therapy, however, the diagnosis of autism will be taken into consideration when developing their treatment plans and structuring their therapy sessions.

It's simple to make physical therapy seem like structured play, since that's exactly what it is. Teaching children with autism to be comfortable and competent in their bodies is an essential and often exciting part of autism treatment. Contact us today for an evaluation with Kidz Therapy Networks Suwanee to see how physical therapy can benefit your child.