What is pediatric physical therapy?

Pediatric physical therapy is a specific field of physical therapy in which a physical therapist (PT) works with children who are typically between the ages of 0 to 18 years of age. Pediatric PTs work with the child and family to address concerns related to an illness, injury, or diagnosis that limits the child’s ability to navigate their environment, participate with peers, and/or complete daily activities.

What does a physical therapist do?

Pediatric PTs work with the child and his/her family to promote motor skill development, independence with motor skills, increased participation with peers, increased exploration of the environment to promote learning and ease the requirements of caregivers for daily activities. Pediatric PTs individualize each child’s plan of care based on the evaluation, examination, diagnosis, and parent concerns. Pediatric PTs also help to create a home exercise plan to help carry over the skills that are being worked on during each session to daily life outside of each physical therapy session.

What will my child do during physical therapy?

There is a wide variety of what is focused on during physical therapy sessions. Interventions are individualized and geared toward your child’s needs. Interventions can include the following: general strengthening (such as working on core strength, hip strength, and leg strength), balance training (to help with balancing on one leg, stay in one place in line with peers, staying upright when landing with jumping, going up and down stairs, walking on grass/uneven surfaces, etc), coordination training (to help with jumping jacks, being able to jump forward/off of high surfaces, skipping, etc), and/or progression of gross motor skills through play. These interventions are utilized to help increase independence in exploring a child’s environment and to maximize participation with peers.

Does my child need to see a physical therapist?

If you are unsure if your child should see a pediatric physical therapist, you can start with a free developmental screener with our company, Peak Pediatric Rehabilitation. This will allow the pediatric PT to generally assess your child and talk with you briefly about concerns that you have regarding your child’s gross motor skills. If you notice that your child is not progressing in their gross motor skills as expected and/or are noticing that your child is not able to keep up with their peers your child might benefit from pediatric physical therapy. After an evaluation is completed, a pediatric PT can identify if your child would benefit from skilled physical therapy intervention.

If you have any further questions about whether or not your child would benefit from Peak pediatric physical therapy please contact us via phone at 720-328-9920.