The Importance of Pediatric Physical Therapy

Anthony Crespo
Anthony Crespo Executive Assistant at AHS

Most people associate Physical Therapy with athletes and for the most part adults. Of course, this is far from reality.  In fact, there are cases where children and even babies need to visit a Physical Therapist or as they are known in the field, Pediatric Physical Therapists.

What exactly is a Pediatric Physical Therapist?

If a child needs to see a physical therapist they will be referred to a pediatric physical therapist. Typically, Pediatric PTs treat patients ranging in age from newborns to 18. Pediatric PTs  see children for a variety of different reasons, including bone ailments, muscle issues, injuries related to sports, or genetic, brain, and nerve disorders. Pediatric PTs help children improve their range of motion, strength, flexibility and movement patterns1. The goal is to help children to move their bodies how and when they want, to the best of their ability, making everyday activities easier.



What is a session with a Pediatric Physical Therapist like?

In the initial visit, the pediatric PT will assess your child’s strength and development, as well as basic motor functions such as standing and walking. The child will attempt specific age-appropriate tasks to see if any delays are present in their development. Because working with children is not the same as working with adults, the treatment approach is executed differently. There is no technical instruction. To the child, the session is nothing more than a play date. Pediatric PTs engage the children with fun, age-appropriate games and activities while at the same time addressing the health concern. For example, to improve gross motor skills, the child might be given a large exercise ball to push around and manipulate in any way they choose. This would address physical strength. Another example would be chasing or reaching for bubbles. This would help the child exercise major muscles and aid in coordination development as he/she tries to track the unpredictable movements of bubbles floating in the air. 



 

Does my child need a Pediatric Physical Therapist?

Pediatric PTs can help children and teens with many issues. It is advised to see a Pediatric PT if you have noticed any of the following in your child:

  • Delays in development (delays in rolling, sitting, standing, walking, etc.)  
  • Muscle weaknesses and imbalances
  • Poor coordination and  motor planning (throwing/catching a ball, balancing, etc.)
  • Genetic disorders such as Down syndrome
  • Nerve and muscle conditions such as cerebral palsy

If you have any concerns about your child’s development, please call us to schedule an assessment.  If you know someone whose child may benefit from seeing a Pediatric PT, please send them our way! 



References 

  1. Golden, M. (2019, November 11). The Importance of Pediatric Physical Therapy – PT Solutions. Retrieved October 08, 2020, from https://ptsolutions.com/the-importance-of-pediatric-physical-therapy/

 

 

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