Other Disabilities

At Building Blocks, we treat all children regardless of their disabilities or diagnoses. Listed below are some more common diagnoses that often require therapeutic intervention. If your child has received this diagnosis or even one that is not listed here, please know that they are welcome here.

Down Syndrome:

Down Syndrome occurs when an individual has a full or partial copy of chromosome 21. This syndrome is the most common genetic chromosomal disorder, occurring in about 1 in 700 children. This genetic difference can cause developmental and physical difference that often may require therapeutic intervention. See how the different therapies can best help your child:

  • Physical Therapy: Children with Down Syndrome often required physical therapy secondary to their characteristically poor muscle tone and smaller hands. Physical therapy can be useful in increasing the child's strength, toning his or her muscles, improving overall coordination, and correcting posture.
  • Occupational Therapy: Child will Down Syndrome may benefit from occupation therapy to assist them in independently completing activities of daily living such as eating, getting dressed, and writing. Often, occupational therapist can work with the child to provide adaptive equipment as necessary to increase his/her independence and functionality.
  • Speech Therapy: Children with Down Syndrome often may speak later than his or her peers. Therefore, speech therapy can be beneficial in developing early communication skills including sounds and words. Furthermore, a speech therapist can assist the child in finding an alternative form of communication until he or she learns to speak or is more intelligible. Additionally, a speech-language pathologist can be beneficial in increasing the muscle tone necessary for nursing and feeding in infants and young children.

For more information on Down Syndrome, please visit https://www.ndss.org/.

Cerebral Palsy:

Cerebral palsy is a developmental disorder that results from a brain injury sustained during fetal development or birth causing damage to the motor cortex of the brain. Children with CP can often benefit from individualized therapy to address deficits:

  • Physical Therapy: Physical Therapy is paramount for children with this condition. This treatment works to increase flexibility, coordination, range of motion, balance, and posture. Physical therapy can provide strengthening and stretching exercises to address necessary to address muscle contraction and spasticity.
  • Occupational Therapy: Occupational therapy works to increase your child's independence as they provide stretching, muscle stimulation, sensory training, and therapeutic intervention to build range of motion and muscle function necessary for fine motor tasks and the completion of activities of daily living.
  • Speech Therapy: Deficits in the child's communication skills are often prevalent. This can include delayed verbal communication, poor oral muscle control (resulting in speech difficulty and/or feeding difficulties), and difficulty producing certain sounds. Speech therapists can also work with your child to find an appropriate alternative method for communication, such as a speech generating device, if necessary.

For more information on Cerebral Palsy and parental support, please visit https://cerebralpalsygroup.com/.

Spina Bifida:

Spina Bifida, meaning "split spine," is a birth defect resulting from failure of the spinal cord to develop or close properly. There is a wide range of severity secondary to the size of the opening and the location on the spine. Children with Spina Bifida often require surgical intervention. However, this is not the end of the road. Physical Therapy can often help assist these patients live more independent lives.

  • Physical Therapy: Physical Therapist's assist children with Spina Bifida gain and maintain mobility, as well as help encourage the development of strength, movement, and balance skills. Furthermore, PTs can also recommend appropriate equipment (such as braces or wheelchairs) to increase functional mobility.

For more information on Spina Bifida and parent support, please visit https://www.spinabifidaassociation.org/.

Intellectual Disability:

Intellectual Disability is a disability characterized by significant limitations in intellectual functioning (or one's general mental capacity including learning, reasoning, problem solving, etc.) and adaptive behavior (conceptual, social, and practical skills. This disability occurs before the age of 18. As with all disabilities, children with intellectual disabilities vary in severity from mild to moderate.

  • Speech Therapy: Children with intellectual disability often present with memory difficulty, delays in oral language development, difficulty with learning social rules, difficulty with problem-solving, or a lack of inhibition. A speech-language pathologist can be a valuable team member in addressing cognition (such as addressing memory strategies, working on general problem solving, etc), promoting verbal language through traditional language therapy, and teaching pragmatic or social skills necessary for appropriate interactions with individuals in their home and community.
  • Occupational Therapy: Occupational therapy may be necessary for children diagnosed with Intellectual Disability to teach self-care (such as brushing teeth, bathing, etc.) and self-help necessary for independent and safe functioning in his or her environment.

For more information on Intellectual Disability and parent support, please visit https://aaidd.org/.

Attention Deficit/Hyperactive Disorder (AD/HD):

Attention Deficit/Hyperactive Disorder (AD/HD) is a life-long brain disorder that makes it difficult for a child to pay attention. It can be divided into three subtypes: Combined Type, Predominantly Inattentive Type, and Hyperactive-Impulsive Type.  Some children with AD/HD have no trouble sitting still or inhibiting behavior, however they are unable to stay focused on an activity. Others pay attention to a task but have much trouble controlling impulse and activity. While medication may be prescribed, therapeutic intervention may also be necessary to best help your child.

  • Speech Therapy: An SLP can work with your child on any speech, language, and social problems. Examples of these may include social skills (such as turn taking and paying attention when others are speaking), cognition (planning/organization to get tasks done), speech, and language.
  • Occupational Therapy: Occupational Therapists can work with the family to create a therapy program to address any sensory processing issues and adapt the environment to increase attention and learning. Furthermore, OTs can assist the child by providing coping techniques and strategies for use at home, school, and the community.
  • Physical Therapy: It is estimated that about 30-50% of children with AD/HD present with motor problems or difficulties. Some examples of difficulty may include riding a bicycle or participating in sports activities. Physical therapists can help remediate these motor deficits, increasing quality of life. 

For more information on Attention Deficit/Hyperactive Disorder or parent support, please visit https://add.org/adhd-facts/.

Fragile X Syndrome:

Fragile X Syndrome is a genetic condition causing intellectual disability, behavior challenges, learning challenges, and physical characteristics. While it can occur in both genders, it more frequent occurs in males. While there is no cure for this syndrome, therapeutic intervention is often beneficial.

  • Speech Therapy: Speech therapy may be beneficial to address speech, language, and oral motor deficits that often co-exist with this disorder. Children with Fragile X syndrome, in terms of speech, often present with repetitive speech, reduced intelligility, rapid and uneven rate of speech, and phonological delays. Intellectual delays may co-exist causing difficulties with language comprehension and use. Children with Fragile X may have difficulty maintaining a conversational topic, remaining interested in social interactions, word retrieval, vocabulary, and syntax. Furthermore, a variety of social deficits may be present resulting in anxiety. Lastly, oral motor deficits may be present including low muscle tone, motor planning difficulties, and tactile defensiveness. Speech therapy can be helpful in remediating any of these deficits.
  • Occupational Therapy: OTs can be beneficial in helping children with Fragile X work on hand dexterity, fine motor deficits, self-care, providing alternative ways to encourage task engagement, and providing ideas to assist the child in all environments.
  • Physical Therapy: PTs are often necessary to assist the child in increasing gross motor skills including balance, coordination, strength, endurance, body awareness, and motor planning.

For more information on Fragile X Syndrome and parent support, please visit https://fragilex.org/.

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome:

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is a conditional that results in physical and cognitive damage secondary to alcohol exposure while in the womb. Treatment can often assist these children in reaching his or her maximum potential.

  • Physical Therapy: Often, children with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, exhibit low muscle tone as infants. This can include avoiding tummy time, struggling to lift one's head, or inability to sit unsupported. Physical therapists can assist these children in increasing muscle tone and reaching his or her gross motor skills.
  • Occupational Therapy: Children with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome may have difficulty with fine motor skills (such as reaching for objects, grasping for objects), life skills (feeding and dressing oneself), or may be hypersensitive to light, sound, taste, touch, and smell. Occupational Therapists are beneficial in addressing any of these concerns.
  • Speech Therapy: Children with FAS often present with executive functioning deficits (poor organization/planning skills, concrete thinking, lack of inhibition, poor judgment) and impact on social skills (lack of stranger fear, vulnerability to being taken advantage of, immaturity, superficial interactions, poor social cognition). These deficits can be greatly helped by a speech-language pathologist.