How do physiotherapists help children with developmental delays and disability to join in at school?
Physiotherapists work with children and their families to build confidence and skills to participate fully at school and in their community. In the early years, play time is crucial for children to engage with their peers, learn how to take turns and compromise, and build positive relationships. However, some children with developmental delay or a disability can feel excluded from play opportunities as they may lack the skills or confidence to participate fully with peers.
Early intervention aims to support young children who have delays or disabilities to build gross motor skills such as walking, running, climbing and ball skills. These foundation skills help children to stay healthy and active, as well as participating in activities with their friends. It is also very important for children to then use these skills to join their friends and classmates during play times.
Children in primary school are given opportunities to play outdoors every day and this helps their whole body to build muscle strength, coordination, postural control and balance. However, sometimes children choose to avoid activities or games they find challenging, so the problem can get worse over time as their peers gain even more strength and coordination.
So, how do physiotherapists help children to participate fully with their friends and family? They work with children to build skills and confidence in their usual environments, such as climbing the play equipment at school or childcare, riding a bike independently in their local neighbourhood, or playing in a local soccer team with friends.
In the playground, physiotherapists can help with specific skills such as climbing on the “spider’s web” play equipment, sliding down a fireman’s pole or swinging from monkey bars.
Physiotherapists may arrange an appointment with a child before school, or visit during class time at school (when no other children are on the equipment) so that a child can be supported to learn how to negotiate play equipment without added pressures. Once they’ve mastered the skill, the child will then have the confidence to climb with peers during play time each day at school. By using this approach, children can then build even more skills and confidence as well as making friends.
Our physiotherapy services can be tailored to help your child to achieve their individual goals and meet the needs of your family. Some of our teams can offer clinic based services and some offer mobile services to provide therapy at home, school or childcare.
If you feel your child may benefit from the help of a physiotherapist to achieve their goals please reach out to our friendly customer service team.