A physical therapist is a licensed healthcare professional who utilizes various treatment interventions to maximize a child’s movement and overall function.
They focus on the assessment of joint range of motion, muscle strength, motor control, neurological function, muscular and skeletal systems. Children may have abnormal movements ranging from very mild delays to severe motor impairments. A child may be diagnosed with Torticollis, Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome, Spina Bifida, and other genetic disorders; while some have unknown reasons for these movement disorders.
A Pediatric Physical Therapist maximizes the child’s potential in the performance of gross motor and functional mobility skills. A primary goal of Physical Therapy is to teach the child and/or caregiver how to make changes in movement. Through learning and repetition of new movement patterns, the child improves existing skills or acquires new ones. Some examples include your child's ability to sit, crawl, walk, run, and play - whether they need a little boost or lots of help.
What is a physical therapist?
A therapist may work with a child who has a specific health impairment/disease, poor coordination, decreased muscle strength, muscle tone, or flexibility, delayed achievement of motor milestones, or following an injury.
Many parents have concerns because their child falls frequently, has unusual movement or postures, or just doesn't seem to keeping up with other kids the same age.
How do I know if my child needs physical therapy?
Your child/infant may benefit from physical therapy if:
- They are not meeting the expected developmental milestones during the first year of life (ie. rolling, sitting, standing, walking).
- They have a strong preference for turning their head to one side or using one side of their body.
- They walk up on the balls of their feet or walk in an atypical/awkward manner.
- They have difficulty keeping up with their peers during play.
- They are not able to perform the same gross motor tasks (ie. hopping, jumping, skipping) as their peers.
- They frequently trip and fall when walking.
- They complain of pain when performing gross motor tasks.
- They were injured and are not able to perform at their prior level of function