Physiotherapists are concerned with motor development which in turn influences intellectual, social and emotional development.
Children may be referred for physiotherapy for example:
- When they experience delay in milestones, e.g. standing, walking, hopping etc.
- Have difficulties with physical activities such as P.E. and also with eye-hand and eye-foot co-ordination, e.g ball skills and running.
- Poor posture, body awareness and awkward when moving.
- Poor short term visual and verbal memory shown as difficulties in taking down dictation, following instruction and copying from the board.
Physiotherapists will carry out an assessment to determine a child’s skills and whether they are at an age appropriate level and with the quality expected. Information is gathered from home and school using a confidential questionnaire to identify difficulties the child is experiencing. The child is consulted about his own concerns and expectations. The Physiotherapist will use specific tests to assess underlying motor, sensory and perceptual abilities.
From the assessment the Physiotherapist will devise a therapy plan with goals and objectives set by the therapist, child and parents. Therapy will be aimed at improving the child’s motor development, which in turn will facilitate self-confidence and esteem.
Liaison with teaching staff, to give advice and support for the child in the classroom, such as correct seating to facilitate better postural control and allowing the child opportunities to practice and consolidate newly acquired skills such as ball skills.
Therapy will also encourage the child to choose to participate in new activities which are both enjoyable and will improve skills.
For more information on helping children with their activities at school and home, the following may be helpful:
Developmental Dyspraxia – A Practical Manual for Parents and Professionals
– Madeleine Portwood (ISBN 1 897585 21 7)
Physiotherapy and Dyspraxia – in Praxis Makes Perfect II – available from the Dyspraxia Foundation.
Sensorimotor Groups – Activities for School and Home – Carol R. Scheerer, M.Ed., OTR/L – Therapy Skill Builders (The Psychological Corporation)