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Children with Angelman Syndrome benefit greatly from selected therapy services and they continue to learn and improve throughout their lives. Though it is best to start as early as possible, many new skills can be learnt well into  adulthood. The 3 primary therapy services listed below are of great benefit to early childhood development and to help set children up to achieve their full potential.

  • Speech & language therapy - AAC  

  • Physiotherapy

  • Occupational therapy

In addition to the 3 primary therapies, people with Angelman syndrome can also benefit greatly from alternative therapies such as hippotherapy, hydro/aquatic therapy, music therapy, art therapy and pet therapy – depending on each individual’s preferences and inclinations.

Speech & Language Therapy (SLT)

A Speech-language therapist/pathologist is a health professional trained to evaluate and treat people who have speech, language, voice or swallowing disorders (including hearing impairment) that affect their ability to communicate.



Physical therapy or physiotherapy (sometimes abbreviated to PT) is the health care profession primarily concerned with the remediation of impairments and disabilities.

Occupational Therapy (OT)

Occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants help people participate in the things they want and need to do, through the therapeutic use of everyday activities/occupations

In addition to the 3 primary therapies, people with Angelman syndrome can also benefit greatly from alternative therapies such as hippotherapy, hydro/aquatic therapy, music therapy, art therapy and pet therapy – depending on each individual’s preferences and inclinations.


Equine Therapy or Hippotherapy is a treatment that uses the multidimensional movement of the horse; from the Greek word “hippos” which means horse.

Hydro/Aquatic Therapy

Therapeutic activities performed in an aquatic environment provide excellent opportunities for children with Angelman Syndrome to develop their motor skills.

Music Therapy

Music Therapy is the planned and creative use of music

to attain and maintain

health and wellbeing. 

Art Therapy

Many virtues have been attributed to art and how it can contribute to our lives.  The therapeutic value of art has been explored and legitimized.

Therapies for AS Behaviours

Studies on challenging behaviours for people with Angelman syndrome

Andrew feeding donkey Feb 2021_edited.jpg

Pet Therapy

Pet therapy is a guided interaction between a person and a trained animal. It also involves the animal’s handler.



Equipment and other supports

Depending on individual needs and options available in different countries, each person with Angelman Syndrome might require different equipment at various ages and stages of life. Parents, carers and specialists are always on the look-out for new ideas and sources for suitable equipment, as well as better methods for therapy. Ideas for equipment shown here, are sourced from what has been seen to be generally successful. In NZ, therapists will source suitable equipment free of charge to their clients.

Resources for General Equipment


Adaptive Equipment for the Home Environment

Most children with AS require special supportive seating, especially when young, eg. a corner seat for using on the floor (to play or eat in – keeps legs extended/stretched).  A wooden TripTrap/Evolution chair or a height-adjustable bucket chair with straps are suitable to use at the table.

Helpful Clothing Products

  • Incontinence products – eenee swimmers (NZ): StayDry

  • Bracing: TheraSuit® / TheraSuit Method® 

  • SDO Suits: The Sensory Dynamic Orthosis (SDO) is a made to measure Lycra Garment (Class 1) medical device, designed and produced to the finest detail. It provides dynamic compression to increase sensory and proprioceptive feedback as well as provide musculoskeletal support. Read more...

Independent Feeding (drinking/eating)

  • Special oval-shaped bowls/plates,some with suction pads at the base, are available.

  • Utensils with bigger handle-grips,can be helpful to teach self-feeding skills.

  • A variety of cups with different lips/spouts/sucking attachments are generally trialed until the right fit is found for each child.


Toilet / Bathroom Equipment

Extra assistance can be required for toileting, such as a raised foam seat, padded backrest with support-strap, a footstool for support and side rails for security and balance. A bath lift is important and useful when seizures are prevalent, or during recovery and rehab after orthotic operations. Commodes are very useful for both toileting and showering when the child has difficulty with walking and standing unaided. It is also a very practical piece of equipment to have on hand after orthotic operations, during recovery and rehab. 



Safe beds: Safety at night is a top priority for children with AS, and to ensure that the parents can get some rest, too. Enclosed beds work well for many, though some children cope fine on a normal bed, too. When a child has epilepsy issues, many parents use monitors to hear and see their child if they wake up at night due to seizures. Because children with AS require very little sleep as well as 24/7 supervision, it is essential to ensure they will be safe in the night while the family is sleeping. A portable safety-sleeper is great when the child is young. As they grow, something more substantial may be necessary to ensure their safety at night, eg. the Safe-surround plus bed. Beds can be provided by your community OT. 


Weighted blankets: These use a method called Deep Pressure Stimulation. The weight from the blanket encourages the body to switch from fight or flight, to rest and digest, bringing a sense of calm to the mind and body. They are used for those living with sleep deprivation, stress, anxiety, autism, insomnia, ADHD and PTSD. Read more here 



Many young children with AS initially take longer to learn to walk due to balance and low-muscle tone and some may need assistance eg. a wheelchair and/or walking frame, throughout their life. However, most do learn to walk – some as late as in their teens.  Those who have orthopaedic operations to assist with their gait, may need rehab equipment after operations, such as a walking frame. There is a Facebook group for parents whose child has gait/orthopaedic/orthotic/scoliosis/skeletal complications. SeOrthopedic issues related to Angelman Syndrome

Adaptive Bikes

These are great to encourage cyclic leg movements, exercise, and a social outdoor hobby. There are many variations on adaptive trikes. Here are some links to Trikes in NZ: Freedom Cycles, and Trikes


Adaptive Equipment for Classrooms

An OT can assess what seating and table supports are needed for each student in the classroom. Many ideas for basic support equipment can be easily accessed or even made by a handy staff member or parent. 

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