ASD is a Neuro-developmental disorder characterized by impaired social interaction, impaired communication skills and repetitive or stereotypical behavior. Past few decades have shown increasing incidence of ASD. At present 1 out of 250 children in India are diagnosed to have ASD. Why do these children develop this complex developmental impairment is not understood. There are various theories explaining the possible mechanisms, but they are speculative with limited evidence. As the cause of ASD is still unknown, the management strategies are evolving everyday with new discoveries about the manifestations of ASD. Traditionally ‘ASD’ is presumed to be synonymous with behavioral, sensory and perceptual abnormalities.
As soon as a diagnosis of ASD is confirmed the parents are advice to consult a range of rehabilitation professionals like occupational therapist, speech therapist, psychologists and special educators. However management of ‘ASD’ should not be limited to these. Slowly as the understanding of the disease is growing various studies have identified motor and physical impairment. But in the presence of gross behavioral and sensory manifestations the motor symptoms are often overlooked. Various multidisciplinary rehabilitation centers in countries like USA, Australia and United Kingdom have physical therapy as an integral part of their early intervention team for the management of ASD. These physiotherapists also undergo specialized post graduate training in treating children with ASD. Our aim is to make the physiotherapists all over India aware that we too have a role to play in the management of ASD. We hope this article to be a portal for the physiotherapists to enter the world of these wonderful children.
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