Physiotherapy for AADC Deficiency – A Parent’s Guide

Emily Malcolm, PhD avatar

by Emily Malcolm, PhD |

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Physiotherapy is among the treatment approaches likely to help people with aromatic L-amino acid decarboxylase (AADC) deficiency, a rare genetic disease characterized by muscle weakness, muscle stiffness, and uncontrollable and involuntary movements, among other symptoms.

Here are some tips to help you get your child ready for a physiotherapy appointment.

How do I prepare my child for the first session?

Make sure your child is wearing comfortable clothing that is easy to move in. It is also important that your child is well-hydrated and well-rested.

Bring your child’s physiotherapy prescription or referral from their primary care physician, as well as your insurance information if your insurance is paying for the session.

What happens during the first session?

The first physiotherapy session usually starts with a physical examination. The physiotherapist may test your child’s flexibility and range of motion, as well as their physical strength.

The therapist may ask your child to go through a few exercises under their supervision, and will discuss the short- and long-term goals of this intervention.

What happens after the session?

Your child may feel tired after the session, with some achy muscles. If they feel severe aches or pains, notify your physiotherapist and physician.

The therapist will design an exercise program, including exercises your child can do at home, which will help them maintain muscle strength and improve their flexibility and range of motion. This type of “homework” is common, but the specifics will be different depending on each patient’s needs.

What about future sessions?

The physiotherapist will ask you whether the exercises are helping, and whether any are too easy or too difficult for your child.

If your child is having problems completing any of the at-home exercises, inform the physiotherapist, who can then modify them accordingly.


Last updated: Jan. 17, 2020


AADC News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.