Pediatric physical therapy focuses on a child’s gross motor skills. Increased attention is placed on coordination, body awareness and agility. Children utilize gross motor skills daily whether it is playing at the park or when participating in PE class at school. We develop an individual treatment plan based on your child in order to work towards goals decided between you and your therapist. Treatment sessions utilize games, toys, and therapy equipment. We also work to utilize play with exercise to allow the child to have fun when attending therapy.
Physicians may refer children or teenagers to physical therapy for a variety of reasons including injuries, movement disorders caused by a disease or illness, developmental delays or disabilities.
Children may benefit from PT services if they have been diagnosed with or if a parent/caregiver has concerns regarding:
- Developmental Delay/Disability
- Cerebral Palsy
- Down Syndrome
- Torticollis and Plagiocephaly (Flat Head Syndrome)
- Toe Walking
- Birth defects (spina bifida)
- Sports injuries
- Muscle diseases
- Traumatic brain injury
- Low back pain
When should a parent ask their physician about a child needing therapy?
- If they have noticed their child walking on their toes versus walking with the foot flat.
- If the child complains of pain in the joints or muscles.
- If the child seems “floppy” or has low muscle tone.
- If the child has hypertonicity or increased tightness in the muscles.
- If the child consistently tilts their head to only one side.
- If the child trips or falls down frequently.
- If the child tires quickly when playing.
- If the child has an abnormal head shape following 6 weeks of age or will not lay on their stomach.
- If the child has trouble sitting up straight.
- If the child is behind in age-appropriate gross motor skills. (walking, rolling or crawling)
- If the child sustained an injury or has had surgery.
For information on typical developmental milestones: please click http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/actearly/pdf/checklists/all_checklists.pdf
What can you expect from a typical physical therapy appointment?
- Balance and coordination activities
- Body awareness activities
- Variety of exercises to improve strength or flexibility
- Developmental activities
- Measurement of joint movement
- Gait analysis
- Recommendation on when to return to sporting activities
Typical goals of therapy:
- Improve independence
- Improve functional skills
- Improve gait pattern
- Improve strength/flexibility
- Improve mobility
What should I do if I believe my child needs therapy?
Initially, visit your primary care physician or pediatrician to obtain a referral for your child for physical therapy. We will call you once we receive the order to set up an appointment for an evaluation. The initial evaluation will take approximately one hour to complete. The therapist will assess the child and complete appropriate testing as needed to determine a plan of care and a frequency for the visits the child will need to attend for the optimal results. Subsequent appointments will range from 30-45 minutes determined by both the parent and physical therapist completing the evaluation.