We want children to reach their maximum potential and actively participate with family and peers in home, and community environments. To reach those goals, pediatric Physical Therapy:
- Promotes independence
- Facilitates motor development and function
- Improves strength and endurance
- Increases joint mobility to improve movement
- Enhances learning opportunities
- Eases challenges with daily caregiving
Which children benefit from pediatric Physical Therapy?
Physical Therapy benefits children with a wide range of conditions and disorders. Some conditions are apparent from birth. Babies who seem slow to roll over, sit or stand, struggle with age-appropriate toys, have poor muscle tone, or keep their head turned to one side may benefit from Physical Therapy intervention.
The need for pediatric Physical Therapy may not be obvious immediately. Signs can show up as trouble jumping or running, frequent tripping, toe walking, reluctance to help getting dressed, struggling to put on shoes, leg cramps and other characteristics.
Among the conditions that cause such problems with muscles and how they interact with the nervous system are:
- Cerebral Palsy
- Down Syndrome
- Developmental Delay
- Spina Bifida
- Muscular Dystrophy
- Toe Walking
- Injuries and accidents
- Neurological problems
- Other genetic disorders
How will pediatric physical therapists work with my child?
The process of supporting children and families begins with an interview, or conversation, to identify the child’s needs and family’s concerns and continues with an examination and evaluation of the child in the context of their daily routines and activities. Based on results of the evaluation, your Physical Therapist will formulate a plan of care to include:
- Developmental activities
- Movement and mobility
- Motor learning
- Balance and coordination
- Recreation, play, and leisure
- Adaptation of daily care activities and routines
- Equipment design, fabrication, and fitting
- Tone management
- Use of assistive technology
- Posture, positioning, and lifting
- Orthotics and prosthetics
- Cardiopulmonary endurance
- Safety, health promotion, and prevention programs
We empower families to play the primary role in their child’s Physical Therapy treatment, including education on:
- Proper positioning during daily routines and activities, such as tummy time and sitting
- Using equipment effectively
- Facilitating safe mobility both in the home and in the community
- Smoothing transitions from early childhood to school and into adult life, such as advocating for a child to drive a power wheelchair at school when ready
Reference: The ABCs of Pediatric Physical Therapy. Section on Pediatrics, American Physical Therapy Association. 2009.