Noah is a ten-year-old sweet and happy boy who was referred for physical therapy by a Therapy 2000 COTA. The COTA observed the need for assistance in strengthening, general conditioning, and balance/coordination. The physical therapy evaluation identified Noah struggled with coordinated motor activities, balance and strength for control and stability during daily activities. He also had low muscle tone, poor alignment, balance, and body awareness. Noah’s impaired control and awareness limited his independence and made him anxious about doing higher level skills, therefore he avoided these tasks, which affects his safety and desire to do age-appropriate activities.
Noah needed a lot of strengthening and muscle balancing, but also body awareness, stabilization, balance and coordination training, functional safety as well as mobility training for indoor and outdoor environments and situations to improve his confidence to try new things. He also needed orthotic shoe inserts to support his feet in better alignment, which also improved his balance and alignment in gait. He was treated 1x/week for 1 hour x 6 months.
The physical therapist stated: Noah is a great example of how sometimes a small dose of “hitting the proverbial nail on the head” can go a long way as well as affect so many more aspects of someone’s life than just the goals that we set. His story quickly snowballed to needing strengthening and alignment corrections, that improved his balance, mechanics, and control, which enabled him to do a few new skills. These skills gave him confidence to do bigger and faster activities outside, which allowed for training on environmental awareness, safety and challenged his balance & coordination further. We utilized a football stadium across the street (gave opportunity to address sidewalk, street crossing and road/traffic safety) to work on stairs. He conquered ascending and descending the entire height of the bleachers with just supervision and encouragement! This was then taken a step further and applied to accomplishing obstacles he never would have attempted at the beginning but that greatly improved his function and access within the community. The family went on a trip to visit family out of town and reported that Noah wanted to run and race at a park, as well as take the stairs at the hotel, which shocked them all! By the end, he was engaging significantly more in family activities and even participating in new events such as trying roller skating for the very first time. Noah progressed steadily and consistently, largely due to his family’s involvement and consistency with the home program and general activities to keep him active and challenged, as well as encouraged. He did PT for one 6-month cert period, discharged with a progressive home program as well as ideas for community involvement and use of available environments, and hasn’t looked back since!
His mother reported: My son, Noah had a late autism diagnosis, he had established certain habits and had set in his mind, that certain activities were out of reach for him. When we would challenge him, he would tell me it was too hard for him. After the physical therapists started working with him and challenging him, I could see his mindset start to change. He started to realize he could do more on his own, and he reached his goals of becoming physically stronger, improved balance, increased core strength and endurance. Noah’s confidence level and self-esteem have been dramatically improved. This alone, will have ripple effects throughout his life in so many positive ways. He is now more willing to try new things which in turn allows him to socialize and enjoy time with his peers. Watching my son blossom before my eyes and finally have the confidence to try new things makes this momma’s heart proud. I have more peace of mind knowing he has the self-confidence and ability to do more on his own and in turn can relate better to his peers. As you can see, home health therapy truly set the foundation that he will continue to build upon throughout his life!