Physical Therapy

Physical Therapy

PT promotes motor development by working through the three stages of motor planning:

  • Ideation- having an idea of what to do
  • Planning- creating an internal plan for the movement
  • Execution- the actual performance of the movement

PT supports children by engaging them in fun gross motor play in order to strengthen:

  • Core muscles
  • Balance
  • Motor planning skills

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can affect many areas of a child’s functioning including gross motor skills. (see gross motor milestones here) Research has shown that many children with ASD have poor balance, low muscle tone, and/or difficulty planning motor actions. Working on foundational motor skills can result in carry over to other areas including improvements in learning, communication, behavior and fine motor skills as children learn to use their bodies more effectively and efficiently.  Physical therapists (PTs) work to engage your child in fun gross motor play in specific, individualized ways to address these areas of need.

PT at ICAN Center for Autism targets all three stages of motor planning while also working on key components of motor development including core strength and balance.  All of our therapists work together to integrate principles of motor learning with the principles of DIR®/Floortime™ to help children increase their gross motor repertoire.

Our PTs create a plan tailored to your child’s individual needs taking into account your child’s strengths, challenges, developmental level, and sensory profile.  Additionally, PTs synthesize information from other specialists and parents to develop, implement, and track programs to ensure success.

How do I know if my child should be evaluated for Physical Therapy?

Does your child:

  • Seem clumsy or more awkward than other children his/her age?
  • Seem “stuck” or unsure how to start or continue an activity you’ve seen him do before?
  • Mix up the sequence of activities like trying to put shoes on before socks?
  • Become frustrated and act out or just give up when a motor activity seems hard or just avoid gross or fine motor activities?
  • Have trouble imitating adults or other kids in how to play with toys or use tools?
  • Have trouble generalizing motor skills to new environments—you’ve seen your child climb ladders before but a certain ladder seems impossible?
  • Get tired more easily than other kids?

If any of these things sound familiar to you, a physical therapy evaluation would be appropriate for your child.

“My little boy was diagnosed with Hypotonia (low muscle tone) when he was 18 months old and still not walking. He has struggled with large motor milestones all his life and Physical Therapy has been crucial for his success. We moved to the Eastside almost two years ago and were looking for a new therapy location and were referred to ICAN by my son’s pediatrician. Before that, we were only going to PT, OT and ST once a week. When he was evaluated at ICAN, I learned that we could add more sessions per week and that it would be very beneficial to him to do so. So we did! He now goes to PT 2 to 3 times per week at ICAN and his progress has been amazing. He was terrified of riding a bike before and now, his favorite activity is riding the “Mudshark” (the big-boy bike with the larger training wheels). Even when he took a spill on the bike, his enthusiasm for the bike didn’t diminish – they are so good at instilling self-esteem and motivation into these kids!  If we’d known about ICAN when he first started therapy at 18 months, we would have moved years before we did. They are THAT good! I highly, highly recommend ICAN for Physical Therapy!” – LCA parent