Starting Out Strong with Physical Therapy
Individuals with Down syndrome display signs and symptoms that can be treated through physical therapy such as low muscle tone and difficulties with motor acquisition. These deficits delay developmental skills from an early age including: crawling, transferring from sit to stand, walking, running, jumping, throwing/kicking a ball, playing and others. Some additional challenges may include: obesity, degenerative joint disease, poor cardiovascular health, diabetes, lower bone density, depression, and others. Physical activity can help with all of these challenges. Physical therapists will work with the individual, the family and other health care providers to reduce the effects of these conditions or even prevent them.
When initially visiting physical therapy, an examination will be performed including a birth and developmental history along with general health questions. An assessment of the individual’s current level of motor function using special tests will be performed. This will include examining the individual’s strength, balance, coordination, tone and other areas of development. The physical therapist may ask the families chief concerns and goals. An individualized treatment program will be developed in order to best assist an individual in achieving his/her short and long-term goals.
The individualized treatment program will help people with Down syndrome improve strength, posture, balance, coordination and movement skills. The goal of physical therapy is to enhance independence with daily activities and quality of life in order to function at his/her best. Exercises and activities will be prescribed to help the individual progress on any gross motor deficits. These exercises and activities will be specific for each individual and for younger children will be more play based. Developmental skills will be taught to the individual to assist him/her in achieving the highest potential.
Guest Post: Jordan Stoddard from Connections Therapy