April is Autism awareness month. Autism involves a large spectrum of disorders that includes difficulty with social skills, behavior development, and nonverbal communication, amongst many other things. One disorder specifically is known as Asperger Syndrome. Signs of Asperger Syndrome include the following: repetitive speech, involuntary or rhythmic movements, difficulty understanding different social settings, lack of eye contact, conversations with self, and can even involve changes with gait.
Gait Changes seen with Asperger’s Syndrome:
- Poor coordination
- Toe walking
- Less motion at ankle joint
- Low muscle tone
- Wide stance of gait
How is Asperger’s Syndrome Diagnosed?
Early detection is sometimes difficult, which is why it is important to look for gait changes in your child. Detection frequently doesn’t happen until children become school-aged and sometimes is never detected at all. These children will be intelligent and quick to develop language and verbal skills. Although having a mature vocabulary, it may be used in inappropriate and awkward ways, making it difficult for them to partake in normal social situations. Attention-deficit and hyperactivity can also become an issue. Once diagnosis is made, there are many support systems to aid children with their behavior and development. These systems include one-on-one aids, as well as behavior therapy and group programs for social training.
Patient’s with Asperger’s may benefit from things such as orthotics, braces, or even physical therapy, to help improve their gait, stability, and strength. Orthotics can help to improve a flat foot, seen in children with Asperger’s. Braces can help with stability when walking. Physical therapy will help to increase muscle tone, increase balance and stability, and help children to partake in more physical activity.
If you have any questions regarding you or your child’s feet, call Hollowbrook Foot Specialists today at (845) 298-9074. We are serving the Hudson Valley from Wappingers Falls.