M&M Physical Therapy is celebrating 13 years!

Adult OT

Autism Spectrum Disorder

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) refers to a group of complex disorders of brain development. These disorders are typically characterized by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors. These symptoms vary from one individual to the next. Statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that somewhere around 1 in 68 American children are diagnosed on the autism spectrum. Studies have shown that autism is four to five times more common among boys than girls. It’s estimated that 1 out of 42 boys and 1 in 189 girls are diagnosed with autism in the United States. This increase in prevalence is partly explained by improved diagnosis and awareness. Currently there is no medical test that can diagnose autism. Specially trained physicians and psychologists administer autism-specific behavioral evaluations to determine if a child is on the Autism Spectrum. Parents are often the first to notice that their child is showing unusual behaviors such as failing to make eye contact, not responding to his or her name or playing with toys in unusual, repetitive ways.

Some other early signs to look for:

  • No big smiles or other warm, joyful expressions by six months or thereafter
  • No back-and-forth sharing of sounds, smiles or other facial expressions by nine months
  • No babbling by 12 months
  • No back-and-forth gestures such as pointing, showing, reaching or waving by 12 months
  • No words by 16 months
  • No meaningful, two-word phrases (not including imitating or repeating) by 24 months
  • Any loss of speech, babbling or social skills at any age

Occupational Therapists (OT) work as part of a team with parents, teachers, and other professionals toward goals often involving social interaction, attention, behavior, home and classroom participation. OT may combine a variety of strategies to help your child respond better to his or her environment. OT’s helps introduce, maintain, and improve skills to promote independence.

Some things OT’s may work on:

  • Awareness of his or her body and its relation to others
  • Appropriate processing of sensory information from within the child’s environment
  • Daily living skills, such as toileting, dressing, and grooming skills
  • Fine motor skills such as handwriting or cutting with scissors
  • Gross motor skills used for climbing stairs, riding a bike or playing on age appropriate play ground type equipment in a safe manner
  • Sitting, posture and coordination
  • Perceptual skills such as colors, shapes and letters of the alphabet
  • Visual skills for reading and writing
  • Coping, self-help, problem solving, communication, and social skills

By working on these skills during occupational therapy, a child with autism may be able to:

  • Learn to appropriately communicate needs and wants
  • Engage in play with peers
  • Develop relationships
  • Learn how to focus on activities and follow directions
  • Express feelings in appropriate ways
  • Learn how to self-regulate and cope in different situations and environments
  • Learn to appropriately integrate sensory information from within their environment

Fine Motor Skills

Children need precise fine motor skills for participation in play, learning and daily living. Children with fine motor difficulties may have difficulty across all environments. If your child has difficulty with activities such as fastenings for clothing, using utensils for eating, playing with age appropriate toys, coloring, handwriting and cutting your child may have a fine motor deficit.

Occupational Therapists are able to determine why your child may have difficulty with age appropriate fine motor skills, and determine what treatment might be the most beneficial for your child.

Some signs your child may have fine motor deficits are:

  • Has not picked a dominant hand
  • Complains about or avoids fine motor activities
  • Has difficulty coloring, drawing or completing handwriting
  • Uses too much or too little pressure during coloring or writing
  • Has sloppy work
  • Uses an awkward or immature grasping pattern on writing utensils
  • Shifts body rather than rotating across body midline
  • Has difficulty using scissors properly or cutting on a line
  • Has difficulty using utensils to self feed effectively
  • Has difficulty completing fasteners on clothing appropriately

Gross Motor Skills

When you think of a child during a typical day you may think of a lot of jumping, running, balancing, climbing, playing on equipment or with a ball. Some children may seem disinterested, tire easily, appear clumsy or awkward during play. These children may seem to be behind compared to their peers and may even avoiding play activities altogether.

Occupational Therapists (OT) are able to evaluate your child and decide if the problem is with motor planning, body awareness or even strength. OT’s will work with your child to simulate similar activities or movements to assist the child in learning to complete play and other functional activities that require gross motor skills.

Some signs your child may have gross motor delays:

  • Has difficulty or seems awkward trying to hop, skip, run or jump
  • Appears to be stiff or awkward
  • Is frequently clumsy or accident prone
  • Seems weak or has poor endurance for play activities
  • Has poor posture, seems to lean into furniture or others
  • Has difficulty coordinating the two sides of their body
  • Has difficulty imitating body positions or activities demonstrated
  • Avoids playing on playground equipment

Sensory Processing

Occupational Therapists (OT) frequently work with children and the families of children who have difficulty with bad or oppositional behaviors. Children who are labeled as resistant during dressing or eating, have trouble sitting still, seem clumsy, bump into others, are loud or react negatively to ordinary noises, don’t realize when they are messy, are irritable or anxious in social situations may in fact have Sensory Processing difficulties.

People learn about their bodies and the world surrounding them through five sensory systems which include touch, sight, hearing, smell, and taste, as well as two additional senses, proprioception and vestibular. These two senses affect how we move, give us a sense of awareness of our bodies and help us control and coordinate movements. OTs are trained to evaluate and assist families in understanding underlying sensory processing difficulties and their impact on a child’s life.

Some behaviors you may see in your child are:

  • Difficulty with transitions between activities
  • Tantrums, being rigid in routines or inflexible
  • Difficulty with self calming or always needing external support
  • Difficulty in social situations
  • Being overly sensitive to touch or sounds
  • Being under responsive to painful input, temperatures, touch or sound
  • Difficulty wearing certain types of clothing
  • Avoidance of foods or food groups that are typically a part of a child’s diet
  • Easily distracted
  • Seen as being clumsy or accident prone
  • Impulsive
  • Delays in speech, language, or motor skills

Serial Casting

Serial casting is a noninvasive procedure to help children or adults improve their range of motion in order to perform daily activities with less difficulty. During serial casting a well-padded cast is used to immobilize in the direction of difficulty. The cast is applied and removed on a weekly basis until a target range of motion goal is achieved. Typically casting lasts approximately 4-6 weeks, however this is different for each individual.

Some people who are seen for serial casting are individuals who may have:

  • Cerebral palsy
  • Spina bifida
  • Brain or spinal cord injury
  • Muscular dystrophy
  • Arthrogryposis
  • Brachial Plexus Injuries
  • Congenital Anomalies

Some of the benefits of serial casting are:

  • Serial casting is non-surgical
  • Serial casting may eliminate or delay the need for future surgeries
  • Serial casting prepare a joint for the use of orthoses
  • Serial casting will increase functional range of motion

Visual Skills

Visual perceptual skills impact many areas of development and function in a child, including fine motor skills, gross motor skills, self-care skills, learning and so much more. There are many components of perception such as visual discrimination, visual figure ground, form consistency, visual memory, visual sequential memory, visual closure and visual spatial relations. Some children may have difficulty performing simple shape sorting or moving around the classroom without bumping into furniture. They may have difficulty sustaining visual attention to tasks, difficulty copying notes from the chalkboard, have poor handwriting and even difficulty reading. This may be misconstrued as difficulty with sight, but is actually about the interpretation of what is seen.

Some signs your child may display are:

  • Increased distractibility, restless, short attention span
  • Seems disorganized or messy
  • Has difficulty completing work in an appropriate time frame
  • Has messy handwriting
  • Has difficulty copying from paper or the chalkboard
  • Has difficulty achieving/sustaining eye contact with individual and objects
  • Complains of blurriness, loss of place when reading or doing work
  • Reverses letters, numbers, words, when reading and writing
  • Has difficulty copying age appropriate shapes, letters and numbers or drawing a person with appropriate parts
  • Cannot complete age appropriate puzzles
  • Bumps into furniture or others when walking through a room

Success Stories

If you are looking for an experience focused on you, with people who genuinely care about you and your success at physical therapy, then look no further!

- Michelle B.

I now have an understand that getting healthy is not only physical but mental. M&M Physical Therapy made all the difference in my recovery.

-Craig S., Mt. Laurel

Twice M&M helped me... one time with thoracic back pain and the other with a herniated disc...both times I found the staff to be knowledgable and enthusiastic ...in my line of work in law enforcement I have to be 100%..they got me to my goal in a realistic amount of time.

-Tim

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    July 9, 2015

TRAIN LIKE THE PROS: THE GOLF PERFORMANCE INSTITUTE

The Golf Performance Institute (GPI) was founded by Physical Therapists and certified Titleist Performance Institute (TPI) instructors with over 10 years of industry experience. The only indoor Golf Performance Center in South Jersey, GPI combines state-of-the-art technology with the best local PGA Professional golf instructors and TPI certified golf fitness instructors. We also have a robust Junior Golf Program, which utilizes technology and data collection to help young golfers develop and improve. This junior training program is widely successful in other parts of the country and will be the first of its kind in New Jersey.

Click here to go to The Golf Performance Institute website. The Golf Performance Institute (GPI)

M & M did a great job providing therapy for lower back pain. The Physical Therapist, Dave, was very easy to work with and eager to answer any questions I had about the condition or the treatment. The M&M office is clean and bright and the M & M staff are pleasant and friendly. After completing the treatment, I have been able to resume normal activities and I am pain free. Thank you M & M!
– Rich

I can’t begin to explain how amazing the care is at M&M. Brett, Ruth and Steve value relationships, and are a breath of fresh air in the medical field. During my time with Brett, he showed that treating your injury is just the first step. He focused on building a relationship with me, understanding my life and the stresses that I’m going through, and felt more like meeting with a trusted friend then a doctor’s appointment. I recommend everyone to give M&M Physical Therapy a try if you need an amazing group of physicians that will ensure that you recover quickly, give you personalized advice, and value ethics and customers more than anything else. They truly are the greatest group of physical therapists around! – Tim

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we specialize in: Sports Related Injuries • Motor Vehicle Injuries • Geriatric Physical Therapy • Hand and Upper Extremity Injuries +