Pediatric physical therapy (PT) is recommended for babies, toddlers, children, teenagers, or young adults with conditions or disorders that impair mobility. Pediatric physical therapy can involve exercises, functional training along with dietary changes to treat the patient’s condition and reduce pain. Whether the condition is pre-existing, an injury, or a disease, a pediatric physical therapist can help restore strength, mobility, coordination, balance, and help the patient reach developmental milestones.
To work with children, pediatric physical therapists go through specialized training beyond the required graduate degree. First, when a child visits a pediatric physical therapist, he or she will be evaluated. The therapist will look at: range of motion, mobility, muscle and joint function, posture and balance, development, motor skills, feeding and oral motor skills, and use of assistive technology. Then he or she will develop a plan for rehabilitation specific to the child’s needs. The patient’s family involvement plays a crucial role in the child’s success. The family will coordinate the therapy services, advocate for their children as well as work on the child’s home care.
Ultimately, the goal of pediatric physical therapy is to help a child achieve his or her maximum level of functional independence. Depending on the patient’s needs, pediatric PT can be performed in an outpatient clinic, a hospital, care center, or in the patient’s home.