Pediatric physical therapy is an important medical practice that involves various techniques and exercises that are designed to help children with their development. It is a sad truth that many children face obstacles to their growth and development due to injury, disease, deformity, or genetics, and it is far more common than many people realize. The growing demand for physical therapy and early intervention for children has led to an expected increase in options for providers in several locations. However, you always want to make sure you take the time to do your research to make sure your child is getting the best care possible. Here, we will discuss some of the fundamental aspects of pediatric physical therapy and what you need to know to help your child get started on their path to successful recovery and development.
What Is Pediatric Physical Therapy?
While there are several different forms of therapy and early intervention techniques for children, physical therapy focuses more on the physical development of the child. This typically involves a thorough evaluation of the child’s condition, strengths and weaknesses, and overall limitations. Understanding these important elements allows the therapist to design exercises, stretches, and training activities to assist with improving a child’s range of motion, strength, flexibility, and coordination. A child could be facing difficulty walking for a number of different reasons. For example, children who suffer injuries or require surgery when they’re young could be struggling with weakened muscles due to all the time they spent inactive during the healing process. Such a scenario would involve a care plan that focuses on strength-building and techniques to improve flexibility. Other obstacles could include balance, where the child is already strong enough to walk, but can’t seem to maintain balance to prevent from falling over. This scenario would require an entirely different strategy, and your therapist would design a care plan that focused on balance.
Do We Need Therapy?
It is important to understand that every child is different, and will inevitably grow at its own pace. However, doctors and medical professionals have set milestone standards that they expect most children to meet within a reasonable time or developmental stage. If your child is not meeting these milestone standards, you should consult your doctor to determine if any therapy or intervention is needed. However, it is also important to understand that therapy and intervention are not reserved only for severe cases like the examples provided above. Any missed milestone, obstacle, or seemingly minor interference with a child’s development is cause for attention and care. In other words, no problem is too big or too small to get your child help. Other causes for pediatric physical therapy include:
- Motor Development Delay
- Gait Abnormalities
- Orthopedic Concerns (Scoliosis)
- Neurologic, Genetic, or Muscular Impairments
Your Role As A Parent
During this difficult time in your child’s life, the role of the family is more important than ever. Your child is struggling and receiving care, but it is important to remember that they are still a child. Children will always learn at their own pace, grow at their own pace, and they will also recover at their own pace. No two cases are the same when it comes to pediatric physical therapy, so the most fundamental elements of the family’s role are patience and support. It can be difficult for children to work with strangers, so making sure that you are present for each therapy session can be important for your child’s level of engagement and comfort. Another sad truth to keep in mind is that, depending on the child’s condition, their struggle could be affecting their social life and preventing them from playing with other kids. Being left out or even rejected by their peers can be devastating for a child’s mental health and confidence, so it is crucial to maintain as much of a positive and encouraging attitude as possible. Therapists are also expected to keep parents involved in many other ways, including but not limited to:
- Facilitating daily routines
- Making daily activities comfortable
- Creating more mobility options
- Making the most of all the equipment
- Ensuring safety
- Supervising sessions for comfort
- Staying up-to-date on resources
- Giving timely and accurate information about the child
- Facilitating the transition between childhood and adulthood.
Keep in mind that you’re in this together, and your involvement can have a significant amount of positive impact on your child’s success. The road to recovery is long, painful, and full of many ups and downs, but having the love and support from family makes it all just a little bit more bearable for everyone.
Choosing The Right Provider
Now that you understand the function and importance of pediatric physical therapy, we can now take a moment to discuss the attributes you should look for in a physical therapist or clinic. It goes without saying that you should make sure that your provider is properly licensed, insured, and equipped to provide the level of care your child needs, but there are some other things you could look for to narrow down your search. For instance, not all cases will require a child to come to a physical clinic, and some sessions can even take place at school, home, or a recreational center. While this is not necessarily a fundamental attribute, flexibility like this can be a significant help for individuals who struggle with transportation or scheduling around work. One very important thing to look for in a provider is their ability to guarantee one-on-one sessions with your child. Group therapy can be appropriate in some cases, and even enjoyable for the kids involved, but many of the exercises and routines involved require precision and repetition. Therefore, if a provider cannot guarantee that your child will receive one-on-one care to make sure they are getting the attention they need, that provider may not be the right one for you.
Visit Excellence Rehab Today!
If your child has struggled or fallen behind in reaching development milestones, and your doctor has recommended therapy, we would like for you to consider Excellence Rehab. Excellence Rehab is a therapy and rehabilitation clinic that specializes in multiple forms of therapy and early intervention techniques to help a wide variety of children on their road to recovery and development. For more information, you can visit our convenient location in the Tri-State area, or visit our website to book your consultation today.