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Getting Kids Moving: Pediatric Physical Therapy

Physical therapists don't just help adults recover from injuries. Pediatric physical therapists are specially trained to help children of all ages overcome challenges and reach their full potential. Whether your child has a developmental delay, a sports injury, or a chronic condition, a physical therapist can create a fun and effective program to get them moving.


How Physical Therapy for Kids Works


Unlike a typical doctor's visit, pediatric PT sessions are all about play! Therapists use games, activities, and exercises tailored to your child's needs and interests. This might involve:


  • Building Strength and Coordination: Using fun exercises and activities like animal walks, obstacle courses, and games, physical therapists help children improve their balance, agility, and muscle control. This can be essential for everything from playing on the playground to keeping up with friends.

  • Addressing Developmental Delays: Physical therapy can be a game-changer for children who are experiencing delays in reaching milestones like rolling over, crawling, or walking. Your PT will assess your child to identify the areas holding them back, and create a fun program to help them develop the skills they need to progress.

  • Recovering from Injuries: Did your little athlete take a tumble? Physical therapists can help kids heal from sports injuries and surgeries. A PT will help your child restore strength and flexibility so they can safely get back to their favorite activities.

  • Managing Chronic Conditions: Children with conditions like cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy can benefit from physical therapy to help manage their symptoms and improve their overall function and well-being. A PT will assess your child to identify areas of strength and areas that need improvement. They will then develop a program to help your child maximize their strength, range of motion, coordination, and endurance. They'll educate you and your child on things you can work on at home. They can also help get your child any needed equipment like wheelchairs, braces, or walkers.


Benefits Beyond Movement


Physical therapy isn't just about physical health. While physical therapists play an important role in promoting physical activity and health in kids, they can also help children with:


  • Self-Confidence: As kids gain strength, coordination, and independence, their confidence soars. This can have a positive impact on all areas of their lives.

  • Pain Management: Physical therapists can teach children techniques to manage pain and discomfort, improving their overall quality of life.

  • Socialization: Gross motor skills help children participate in play and games with peers, which help children develop social skills and build friendships.


If you think your child might benefit from physical therapy, talk to your pediatrician or give your PT a call. They can assess your child's needs and create a personalized plan to help them reach their goals!


References


Research
  1. The Scope of Pediatric Physical Therapy Practice in Health Promotion and Fitness for Youth With Disabilities. Pediatric Physical Therapy 27(1):p 2-15, Spring 2015. | DOI: 10.1097/PEP.000000000000009. https://journals.lww.com/pedpt/Fulltext/2015/27010/The_Scope_of_Pediatric_Physical_Therapy_Practice.2.aspx

  2. Aquatic Physical Therapy for Children with Developmental Coordination Disorder: A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial, Physical & Occupational Therapy In Pediatrics, 30:2, 111-124. DOI: 10.3109/01942630903543575

  3. Physical Therapy Management of Congenital Muscular Torticollis: An Evidence-Based Clinical Practice Guideline. Pediatric Physical Therapy 25(4):p 348-394, Winter 2013. | DOI: 10.1097/PEP.0b013e3182a778d2. https://journals.lww.com/pedpt/Fulltext/2013/25040/Physical_Therapy_Management_of_congenital_muscular.2.aspx

  4. Pain Assessment and Management in Children With Neurologic Impairment: A Survey of Pediatric Physical Therapists. Pediatric Physical Therapy 22(3):p 330-335, Fall 2010. | DOI: 10.1097/PEP.0b013e3181ea8d7d. https://journals.lww.com/pedpt/FullText/2010/22030/Pain_Assessment_and_Management_in_Children_With.18.aspx


Articles/Content
  1. 5 Ways to increase physical activity in infants and toddlers. https://www.choosept.com/health-tips/5-ways-increase-physical-activity-infants-toddlers

  2. Activities to Promote Development in Children. https://www.choosept.com/childrens-activities

  3. Whole Body Exercises for Kids of all Abilities. https://www.choosept.com/video/whole-body-exercises-kids-all-abilities

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