Examples of Outpatient Physical Therapy Activities

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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

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Last Updated: June 9, 2020

The Center for Autism Research and The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia do not endorse or recommend any specific person or organization or form of treatment. The information included within the CAR Autism Roadmap™ and CAR Resource Directory™ should not be considered medical advice and should serve only as a guide to resources publicly and privately available. Choosing a treatment, course of action, and/or a resource is a personal decision, which should take into account each individual's and family's particular circumstances.


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