PEDIATRIC PHYSICAL THERAPY
What is a Pediatric Physical Therapist?
Pediatric Physical Therapists work to improve a child’s motor development, strength, range of motion, balance, coordination, gait, and endurance. Pediatric Physical Therapists interview children with their families and use physical examinations to evaluate the source of the child’s movement difficulties. From there, the therapist creates an individualized treatment plan with a coordinating home program since improving physical function requires daily practice.
At Beyond Limits Pediatric Therapy Center, our Pediatric Physical Therapists help children achieve their goals while doing what they do best- playing! We work with infants, toddlers, children and young adults, ages birth to 21. Our main focus is to take your child beyond their perceived limits!
Skills and Techniques:
Our Pediatric Physical Therapists successfully treat patients using an extensive set of skills and techniques that include:
- Manual therapy techniques
- Therapeutic exercises and activities
- Gait training
- Motor planning
- Developmental, recreational and play “therapy”
- Adaptation of daily care activities to a child’s special needs
- Recommendations for assistive devices, adaptive bicycles, orthotics and prosthetics
- Evaluate for equipment needs
Who Can Benefit from Pediatric Physical Therapy?
Physical Therapy can be useful for children with a variety of diagnoses including but not limited to:
- Congenital Muscular Torticollis
- Positional Plagiocephaly
- Infants and Toddlers with Gross Motor Delays
- Cerebral Palsy
- Genetic Disorders
- Toe Walking
- Abnormal Gait
- Developmental Coordination Disorder
- Orthopedic Conditions
- Sports Injuries
- Traumatic Brain Injury
- Musculoskeletal Disorders
- Spina Bifida
- Neuromuscular Disorders
- Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis (JRA)
- Post Surgical Conditions
What Are the Goals and Benefits of Pediatric Physical Therapy?
The ultimate goal of Pediatric Physical Therapy is to help children achieve their optimal level of function to allow for independent exploration of their environment. This is achieved through:
- Improved range of motion
- Improved strength
- Improved alignment
- Improved balance
- Improved coordination and motor planning
- Improved endurance
- Mastering developmental milestones
What Should a Parent Expect from PT?
First, your child will be evaluated by a Physical Therapist. This will involve a parent interview, observing how your child interacts with and moves in their environment, and also standardized testing to gain perspective on how your child is functioning when compared to other children his or her age. All of this information is carefully considered by the therapist in light of how a parent describes their child’s strengths and weaknesses. The evaluation is a time for you the parent/caregiver to voice your concerns and ask for help in areas that are a struggle for your child.
Beyond the Evaluation
A Physical Therapist will assess the individual needs of each child and collaborate with the parents, child, and other professionals to determine goals that target the child’s functional deficits or delays.
Play is the ‘occupation’ of childhood! Maria Montessori said it long ago: “Play is the work of the child.” Children learn by playing! So, don’t be surprised that if you look in on your child’s sessions that it appears as if the therapist is ‘just playing’ with your child. Yes, we do play! Physical Therapy sessions involve fun and engaging activities to promote and improve things like strength, motor development, range of motion, endurance, balance, coordination, gait, and endurance. Your child will learn new skills and gain new abilities by the therapist skillfully guiding a play session in order to provide a ‘just right’ challenge for your child. It is in this challenge that your child will grow a new skill!
Therapists will also often provide specific education about your child’s weaknesses that will allow you to modify tasks for your child to make things easier in order to allow your child to be more independent.
Our goal is that through fun and challenging therapy, coupled with providing answers and education and programs for parents, that your child will progress in therapy, learn new skills and become more independent with all the areas of childhood that are so important for you, your child and your family. So please, ask questions, attend sessions and observe, and work hard at home with your child. They will make progress!