Physical Therapy Can Help with Developmental Delay in Children

by Robert B. Boyle, MPT, COO, Physical Therapist, December 19, 2016

April is Autism Awareness Month. Did you know that your physical therapist can help children with motor skill challenges and developmental delay associated with autism and other conditions?

While it is a broad term, "developmental delay" is usually when an infant, toddler or child shows lack of progression in talking, playing or moving compared to other children at the same age. Children with autism often show signs and symptoms of developmental delay. In infants, it may involve not being able to hold up his or her head or sit up at the appropriate age. Older children may not be able to run, jump or skip at the level of their peers.

The first order of business is to have your pediatrician determine if your child is experiencing developmental delay and what may be the root cause. A standardized test is conducted by the pediatrician and your child is scored in different abilities associated with movement, communication and overall motor skills. If it is determined that your child could benefit from extra help, seek out a physical therapist such as the professionals at Rehab 1st. 

A physical therapist will start the intervention by going over the test scores and assessing the child's strengths and challenges. Your PT will then discuss your child's regular routine at home and analyze how you can work together to think of new or alternative methods of movement. For instance, if a child is having a difficult time with balance, the physical therapist might suggest safe and proper methods of support to build those motor skills. A trained professional can offer little "hints" to help your child at home. Special ways of playing on the floor or proper positioning of your child to teach him or her to use and condition targeted muscles will help your child catch up to his or her peers. As with any ailment, early intervention is better for success rate. While it is important to remember that physical therapy is not a miracle fix and results vary, it can assist in areas of developmental delay. Consulting a professional can also help alleviate the inevitable parental worry and concern.

If you and your child's pediatrician have determined that your young one is experiencing developmental delay associated with autism or other conditions, consider consulting the experts at Rehab 1st. You can get your young one the extra help he or she needs.

(Rehab 1st is a comprehensive rehabilitation center with convenient Maryland locations on the Downtown Cumberland Mall and Main Street in Frostburg. As a locally owned and operated company, Rehab 1st is dedicated to serving the tri-state area's rehabilitation needs.)

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