What is Pediatric Physical Therapy?
When we think of physical therapy for children often children who use walkers, braces, and wheelchairs come to mind. Pediatric physical therapy is so much more than that.
What are some of the most common diagnoses we treat as pediatric physical therapists? Pediatric physical therapist can treat any child from 0 to 18 years of age. We can treat many different diagnoses. We can treat a simple ankle sprain from playing basketball or a wrist sprain from a fall to post surgical care following an ACL reconstruction. Pediatric physical therapists also work with infants if they have torticollis or are not meeting their developmental milestones such as sitting up, crawling or walking. We will work with children with more complex diagnoses such as spina bifida, cerebral palsy, and Down syndrome to help the child be as independent as they can be. There really isn’t a diagnosis physical therapists can’t treat at some level.
What do the sessions look like?
Like physical therapy for adults, we collaborate with the child’s parents to set individualized goals based on the child’s needs. Each session will look a little different. The evaluation often is a time to get to know the child and observe their movement, talk with the parents and develop a plan to help each child. Each follow-up session we will use toys and items in the clinic to help achieve the child’s goals. Often time this looks like playing, but behind the scenes the therapist has set up the toys and/or environment to challenge the child.
We use our knowledge of movements, brain development, and body function to develop individualized goals and treatment sessions to help children become independent in their environment.
How often do we see a child and how long are the sessions?
This will vary depending on a lot of factors. Some of the factors we consider are the complexity of the diagnosis and other difficulties the child may have as well as the family’s schedule. Sessions can last any where from 30 to 60 minutes depending on how long the child can stay engaged and not become fatigued with the activities they are working on. This is determined by the physical therapist and the parents.
Who can provide pediatric physical therapy?
All physical therapist have some training in treatment the pediatric population, but there are a smaller number of therapists who take more extensive course work following graduation to learn specific techniques and treatment protocols. Here at Rehab Solutions we have 3 therapists who have engaged in furthering their understanding of the pediatric population.
If you have questions or concerns regarding your child’s development, call us at 307-686-8177 to set up a FREE 15-20 minute assessment to determine if therapy is right for your child! We would love to help!
Written By: Jamie Hendryx PT, DPT Pediatric Therapist