Pediatric Physical Therapy

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Pediatric Physical Therapy:
doi: 10.1097/PEP.0b013e31823e06d1
Special Communication

Autism Spectrum Disorder: An Emerging Opportunity for Physical Therapy

Mieres, Ana C. PT, MSPT, PhD; Kirby, Russell S. PhD, MS, FACE; Armstrong, Kathleen H. PhD; Murphy, Tanya K. MD, MS; Grossman, Lee BA

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Abstract

Purpose: A growing body of evidence from research on autism spectrum disorder (ASD) confirms a substantial sensory motor component to ASD. Yet, policy and practice lag behind in recognizing the potential contributions of physical therapists in research, practice, and education related to ASD. The objective of this commentary is to inform and encourage reflection and formal dialogue among pediatric physical therapists regarding the assumption of vital roles in research, education, and clinical practice in ASD.

Key Points: Selected studies representative of the type of work being carried out with respect to motor aspects of ASD is presented with selected older literature for those unfamiliar with the range of information available.

Conclusion: Findings from research provide ample substantiation for physical therapists to join interdisciplinary efforts as researchers, scholars, educators, policy analysts, and advocates in ASD. Physical therapists have the potential and ability to play a much greater role in ASD.

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.

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