The Benefits of Physical Therapy for Children with Neurodevelopmental Differences
For some children with neurodevelopmental differences, physical therapy may offer a pathway to improve motor skills, balance, coordination, and overall physical functioning. Conducted by licensed physical therapists with specialized training in pediatric development, physical therapy programs are tailored to meet the unique needs of each child.
How Physical Therapy Builds Skills
Children with neurodevelopmental differences often face challenges in physical movement, strength, and coordination. Physical therapy targets these areas by focusing on:
Gross and fine motor skills
Balance and coordination
Muscle strength and tone
Posture and gait training
The benefits of physical therapy may include:
Enhanced mobility and independence
Improved strength and endurance
Better coordination and balance
Increased participation in daily activities
Prevention of future physical injuries or complications
What to Expect During Physical Therapy Sessions
Physical therapy sessions are designed to be engaging and child-friendly and may take place in clinics, schools, at home, or in other settings. During these sessions, children might engage in:
Exercises tailored to improve specific motor skills
Activities that build strength and endurance
Balance and coordination tasks
Gait training and posture exercises
Play-based therapy to enhance engagement and enjoyment
Physical therapists develop individualized treatment plans with your child’s goals in mind.
Incorporating Physical Therapy at Home
Physical therapists may encourage caregivers to further enhance their child’s progress by carrying out physical therapy exercises at home. Here are some suggestions for caregivers:
Make sure that any exercises recommended by the physical therapist are practical for you to complete at home. For example, if you have limited space or equipment, let the physical therapist know so that they may create a treatment plan with that in mind.
Create a routine and practice recommended exercises consistently
Encourage movement during playtime
Focus on setting small, achievable goals to keep your child motivated
Provide a safe environment that is safe for physical activity to minimize the risk of injury
Acknowledge and praise your child’s efforts and achievements
The Duration of Physical Therapy
The duration of physical therapy varies, depending on the child’s specific needs, the severity of their challenges, and their rate of progress. Continuous assessment and communication with the therapist can help ensure that the child continues to progress.
Physical therapy can enhance children’s quality of life and independence. By understanding the benefits of physical therapy and actively participating in the therapy process, caregivers can play a crucial role in supporting their child’s development and well-being.