If your loved one has a disability that is limiting their movement, speech, or cognitive abilities, three types of habilitative therapy can aide them in having an improved quality of life.
According to the World Health Organization, 3% of the world’s population has some form of intellectual disability. Sadly, before the mid-20th century, a high percentage of people classified as intellectually disabled would be committed to an institution from birth. While institutional care has greatly improved since then, the rise of developmental therapy and habilitative services has helped to keep more children and adults with their families or successfully living on their own.
Because habilitative therapy establishes measurable goals meant to achieve functional improvement of developmental abilities, your loved one can learn, improve, or sustain skills needed to better their lives. Depending upon the difficulties they experience, the best type of therapy for your loved one may be determined by using one or more types of developmental therapy for children and adults.
Physical therapy will help your child or loved one to improve, maintain, or develop essential mobility skills such as balance and coordination. If they experience trouble walking, climbing stairs, or getting in and out of chairs, this form of habilitative therapy allows them to strengthen key muscles and perform tasks independently. Ultimately, through physical therapy your loved one can improve:
- Gross motor skills, like walking and maintaining balance
- Cardiovascular efficiency, such as endurance and breathing patterns
- Muscle strength, primarily in the lower extremities
Speech and Language Therapy
Habilitative speech therapy is used not only to encourage the normal development of speech and language, but also clarity and facial expressions. If you find that your child or loved one has difficulty expressing thoughts and feelings and often become frustrated, this type of therapy can be extremely beneficial. Speech-language therapy can address many concerns, including but not limited to:
- Low speech volume
- Difficulty understanding directions
- Trouble with social language and conversations
- Frequent coughing, swallowing, or consumption issues
Speech therapy can also help with the development of language skills by teaching them how to appropriately utilize expressive, receptive, and pragmatic language. This will allow them to successfully communicate their thoughts, feelings, wants, and needs.
Another important developmental therapy for your loved one is occupational therapy, which can help improve their functioning level for essential activities of daily life (ADLs). This covers everything from dressing themselves using hand-eye coordination to successfully filling out forms or job applications. The goals of occupational therapy are to encourage a range of skills:
- Fine motor skills, used to gain more dexterity with their hands and be able to learn writing techniques
- Visual motor or perceptual skills, which help with hand-eye coordination, reading, and finding answers in visual information
- Personal care skills, so that they can learn to live independently by teaching proper hygiene, grooming, and eating
- Community life skills, which includes skills needed to work and handle money
- Sensory processing skills, so that they understand not to self-injure
The development of these necessary skills can help your loved one achieve independence and help them understand how to successfully interact with those around them.
The first step to a more independent life for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities is developing a therapy plan that will establish and work to achieve specific goals. To learn more about the various therapies available, contact Integrity, Inc. and talk to someone about our developmental day treatment clinic services (DDTCS) and beginning a habilitative therapy plan.