The Role of PT, OT, and ST for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

The Role of PT, OT, and ST forchildren with Autism Spectrum Disorder


Physical therapy can help children with ASD in a number of ways. In the early years (birth to 3) physical therapy can help increase a child’s participation in routines of daily life. They also help with in developing gross motor skills thru structured and free play activities. Physical therapists work on increasing strength and coordination, and walking safely and efficiently in all needed environments, such as negotiating stairs. In school age children (3-18) physical therapists help with improving the learning environment and help teach movement skills needed to participate in social games and peer interactions. They also work on body and spatial awareness in order to navigate the school such as crowded hallways, playgrounds, cafeterias, and steps onto and off of the bus. Here is more information on the role and benefits of physical therapy in children with ASD

Occupational therapy services focus on enhancing participation in the performance of activities of daily living (e.g., feeding, dressing), instrumental activities of daily living (e.g., community mobility, safety procedures), education, work, leisure, play, and social participation. They can help children respond to information they are getting from their senses such as sound, taste, feel, etc. They can help children with ASD learn to transition from place to place and person to person, and also help teach them appropriate ways to communicate and participate with peers. Here is more information on the role and benefits of occupational therapy in children with ASD

Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) play a central role in the screening, assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of persons with ASD. They can help enhance a child’s communication skills and expression of their emotions. They can also help teach kids with ASD how to use augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) devices for children. This helps the child express their emotions and explain what they want and how they are feeling, and this helps to decrease frustration from both the child and the family. Here is more information on the role and benefits of speech therapy in children with ASD



-Matthew D’Antonio, DPT, PT

-Pediatric Physical Therapist

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