Pediatric Physical Therapy
Physical therapists have a strong knowledge base of anatomy and movement. They perform assessments to recognize dysfunction in almost every system of the body and intervene to promote optimal physical function and health. Oftentimes, physical therapists will specialize in a specific area of physical therapy (for example, Orthopedics, Neuro, Pediatrics).
Pediatric physical therapists specialize in working with children – newborns to young adults, and everything in between. In the pediatric setting, physical therapists use clinical reasoning and evidence based practice to improve independence, facilitate motor and developmental skills, increase strength and flexibility, improve endurance and fitness, and increase participation in age appropriate gross motor activities.
These therapists collaborate closely with families to develop individualized treatment programs centered around the wants and needs of the child.
A common misconception is that there is only one kind of physical therapy. Physical therapy is far more diverse than that! With this in mind, it is very important to seek out a pediatric physical therapist for your child. Even better, you can go on the American Physical Therapy Association website and find a board certified Pediatric Physical Therapist in your area (https://specialization.apta.org/FindaSpecialist/).
The services a pediatric physical therapist can offer include:
- Assessment of developmental and gross motor skills – to help make sure your child is reaching milestones on time
- Upper/lower extremity and spine evaluation – to make sure things are moving the way they should be
- Assessment of balance, gait, and mobility – to make sure your child is walking, running, and hopping the way he or she should be
- Assessment for brace or orthotic needs – to help make sure your child has good alignment from head to toe
- Assistive device and equipment assessment – to help promote independent mobility, no matter your child’s skill set
Pediatric PT’s work with children with a range of diagnoses, including, but not limited to:
- Cerebral Palsy
- Connective tissue diseases (such as Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome)
- Coordination or balance disorders
- Developmental delay
- Gross motor delays
- Juvenille Rheumatoid Arthritis/Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis
- Muscular dystrophy
- Neuromuscular disorders ( such as Charcot-Marie-Tooth)
- Traumatic Brain Injury
- Trisomy 21