Some young children experience delays in developing the balance, motor skills, and functional movements we typically associate with kids at play. This may be attributed to autistic spectrum disorder, or other developmental disorders than impair a child's strength, flexibility, sensory processing, balance, and coordination.
In such cases, pediatric physical therapy can help children overcome both the physical and cognitive impediments to being able to run, jump, and play with other children. Here are just a few of the benefits a child may experience.
Pediatric physical therapy improves gross motor skills
Particularly in small children, delays in motor skills begin with gross motor function, which is the ability to deftly control large muscle movements. Gross motor function is something most of us take for granted, but it allows us to move our bodies to walk, run and hold ourselves in position while we stand still. For children functioning with gross motor delays, pediatric physical therapy can help overcome these early deficiencies and establish a foundation for fine motor skills to come.
Strengthen undeveloped muscles in San Diego children
One important goal of pediatric physical therapy is to develop a child's muscles. Inconsistent low or high muscle tone can be a common characteristic of disorders such as autism, helping create issues of balance, coordination, and endurance. A pediatric physical therapist will diagnose low muscle tone areas and work with a child to strengthen them, so that they may achieve symmetry, creating better physical support for activities ranging from walking long distances to running and jumping games.
Pediatric physical therapy increases coordination in children
Children with delayed motor functions often find it difficult to coordinate hands and feet, both sides of the body in a reciprocating pattern or to maintain balance throughout simple activities such as jumping or climbing stairs. Pediatric physical therapy can help children develop a mindfulness of their body's position in space, improving their ability to coordinate the movement of their limbs in relation to each other.
Develop functional mobility in children in San Diego
With improved coordination and muscular development, a child may begin to develop greater functional mobility. Functional mobility is the ability to recognize and adapt to one's environment while moving from place to place. This may be represented by small things, such as stopping to bend over and pick up a toy, navigating the spaces between desks in a classroom or kicking to keep a swing in motion on the playground. Such actions may not be intuitive for a child experiencing developmental delays, but they may be learned with the help of a pediatric physical therapist.
Pediatric physical therapy at FITS OT engages San Diego children
When adults pursue physical therapy, typically a disciplined approach is taken, working through exercises with the understanding it's an important aspect of self-care. Since young children may not possess this awareness, it's important for a pediatric physical therapist to include games, music and other fun motivations in a child's physical therapy sessions to keep them engaged.
At FITS OT, our team of caring physical therapists specialize in helping children achieve their full potential and have fun doing it! Contact us today to find out how pediatric physical therapy can help your child make the most of participating in school and play.