October 12, 2015
Epic’s physical therapists work with many different children ages 0-21 with a wide variety of medical diagnoses. Has your child been referred for physical therapy? Are you wondering if physical therapy will benefit your child? Here are some ways in which pediatric physical therapy can help!
Physical therapists and physical therapy assistants are trained to work with medically fragile children who often require constant care and monitoring. For example, they work with children who have recently had heart surgery and must work to increase their strength and endurance within parameters for heart rate and blood pressure as ordered by their doctors. They also work with children who are medically stable but are diagnosed with cerebral palsy, spina bifida, muscular dystrophy or brain injury, as well as with delayed gross motor skills.
Here are some activities that a pediatric physical therapist may engage in with your child to promote independence with mobility:
- Rolling from back to stomach and playing while the child is on their stomach. Therapists will play with the child during these transitions to work on core strengthening while singing and playing with toys to encourage the child to participate and exercise their muscles.
- Sitting balance activities may include supporting the child while holding their trunk with the appropriate amount of assistance, holding their hands, swaying side to side to help them learn to correct their balance.
- Kneeling activities begin to work on hips and legs strength before standing and walking activities can occur. Your child may be kneeling at a table or independently while playing catch.
- Standing and walking activities range from pulling to stand and cruising along the couch as a toddler, walking in a gait trainer after hip surgery, or learning to use a walker or crutches so that the child can be independent at home and at school.
- Physical therapists also assist families in deciding what equipment will best suit a family’s needs for their child. They help with beds, wheel chairs, walking devices, shower chairs and assessing for foot/leg braces as needed.
Any child between ages 0-21 can perform any of these activities depending on their level of function. Moreover, many of these activities look like play so children can stay engaged and use the muscles needed to promote independence with their mobility. Pediatric physical therapists work hard with their book knowledge and creativity to engage children and help them achieve their goals of increased independence!