Physical Therapy

What is Pediatric Physical Therapy?

Pediatric physical therapists (PTs) work with children and their families to assist each child in reaching their maximum potential to function independently and to promote active participation in home, school, and community environments. Physical therapists use their expertise in movement and apply clinical reasoning through the process of examination, evaluation, diagnosis, and intervention. As primary health care providers, PTs also promote health and wellness as they implement a wide variety of supports for children from infancy through adolescence in collaboration with their families and other medical, educational, developmental, and rehabilitation specialists. Pediatric physical therapy promotes independence, increases participation, facilitates motor development and function, improves strength and endurance, enhances learning opportunities, and eases challenges with daily caregiving.

Benefits of Physical Therapy Include:

  • Increase range of motion and strength: Impairments in range of motion and strength can lead to poor joint alignment, pain/discomfort, difficulty with walking, and performing other daily activities.
  • Development of gross motor skills: Gross motor skills include: sitting, creeping, walking, running, jumping, skipping, and hopping.
  • Improve balance and coordination: Deficits in balance and coordination may lead to frequent falling, poor body awareness, and clumsiness.
  • Increase mobility skills: Mobility skills include: rolling, scooting, standing up from the floor, and going up and down stairs.
  • Obtain and achieve functional use of equipment and assistive devices: Physical therapists coordinate care with appropriate orthotists and durable medical equipment providers to assess, order, and train the families with appropriate use of assistive devices to increase the functional independence of the child and family. Equipment includes: orthotics, braces, specialized seating, wheelchairs, and walkers.

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