Physiotherapy and Autism – How it can help support your child

Physiotherapy deals specifically with movement skills at all levels. We help in development, performance, rehabilitation, and improvement of skills like walking, running, balance, climbing, sitting, standing etc. But how can this help your child with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)?

Learning new skills is not an easy task, our brains have so much information that it needs to access and process. Sometimes certain details can be missed. Physiotherapy can help your child to bridge these gaps and help your child’s brain to make sense of how to put together the pieces to achieve their goal.

In physiotherapy one of our main goals is to help children to feel comfortable and confident in their body and movements. We do this by addressing any of the below:

1. Postural control: teaching your child’s brain to activate the correct sequence of muscles to hold certain positions without overloading their system.

2. Muscle tone: often children with ASD can have what we call low tone of their muscles, in physiotherapy we help the brain to generate the muscle readiness needed to move with ease.

3. Malalignment of the body: sometimes when the brain is not sequencing muscles to activate in the correct patterns, our joints or bones do not develop in the typical manner. Physiotherapy can help with things like flat feet, hyperflexible joints or general positioning of the legs (turning in or out).

4. Respiratory control: did you know that your breathing muscle (diaphragm) forms part of what we call your core muscles? When breathing is uncoordinated or we hold our breath that means our core cannot engage. Deep breathing also signals your nervous system to lower your heart rate, blood pressure and stress hormones.

A child who is comfortable in their body and movements tends to be a calmer and happier child. Physiotherapy can help support your family in being healthy and happy and enjoying the journey. Learn more about Physiotherapy at Spring Forward and our Physiotherapist Roxanne.

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