Children, Teens, and Young Adults with ASD: Supporting Transitions Through Physical Therapy


American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) - Section on Pediatrics


Pittsburgh, PA

Publication Date / Copyright Date

November 2015


The incidence of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) continues to rise at an alarming rate. Children with ASD often struggle with delayed motor development, impaired balance and coordination, and sensory issues that inhibit participation in physical activities. Older children and teenagers are at risk for becoming overweight or obese because of the social, emotional, behavioral, and physical challenges that limit their opportunities to remain physically active. Barriers to participation in social, community, and employment activities can ultimately impact overall health and well-being. Physical therapists are often part of the healthcare team during childhood years to address physical impairments. Nevertheless, older children, teens and adults with ASD can benefit greatly from our knowledge, expertise and guidance throughout the lifespan to prevent secondary impairments, assist with post-secondary transitions, and facilitate independent, healthy living. This session will explore current research on the impact of ASD throughout the lifespan. Case stories and videos will be used to provide therapist, teacher, parent and patient perspectives on the barriers faced by individuals and families dealing with ASD, and examine the role of PT. Large group discussion will engage participants and facilitate exploration of strategies and resources to support and promote wellness, transitions to adulthood, and independent living.


Physical Therapy

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Peer Reviewed