A physical therapist facilitates gross motor development and overall functioning, with the goal of making an individual more independent. The therapist should consider all of the environments that the individual participates in (home, school, and community). Thus there may be some overlap between therapy done in an outpatient clinic and therapy done through the educational system.
A physical therapist will work to improve strength, balance, coordination, and mobility. Some examples of physical therapy include:
- Improving developmental skills – playing on belly, rolling, sitting, playing on hands and knees, kneeling, pulling to stand, cruising in standing, standing alone, walking, running, jumping, stair climbing
- Utilizing obstacle courses to develop motor skills, balance, coordination, and motor planning (scooter board, balance beam, rocker board, step stools, tunnels, etc.)
- Using board games and puzzles to facilitate motor skills (performing the motor skill to obtain game piece, take a turn, etc.)
- Using a therapy ball to increase strength and postural control (for example, ball sit-ups, walking out on hands while on belly, etc.)
- Stretching child when muscles are tight to improve function
- Home programs given to family/caregivers for carryover of therapeutic activities individualized to meet each child and family’s needs
- The Role of the Pediatric Physical Therapist for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
- Examples of School-Based Physical Therapy
- Examples of Home and Community-Based Physical Therapy for Young Children
- How Do I Choose a Treatment?
- How to Choose a Treatment Provider
- The Importance of Data Collection in Measuring Progress
- Who Are All These Professionals?