Pediatric Physical Therapy

What is Pediatric Physical Therapy?
Physical therapy evaluates and addresses problems with motor skills.  Children at different ages require varying movements and development to achieve the full mobility needed for walking, running and climbing.  Physical therapy works to achieve the most typical and efficient movement and balance for the child’s body.  A physical therapist uses a variety of treatment activities to help increase strength, endurance and mobility for your child to be able to move within their environment.  Physical therapists also evaluate for the need of any adaptive equipment or orthotics your child may need to further his or her success.  Whether using adaptation or working to strengthen and increase range of motion in body parts, a physical therapist can help a child achieve greater mobility and independence in their lives.

Our Pediatric Physical Therapists (PT) work with children and their families to assist each child in reaching their goals to function independently and to promote active participation in home, school and community environments. We evaluate, create and provide individualized treatment for children who have difficulty with motor skills. Your child might need physical therapy to help with developmental delay, a birth defect, chronic illness or an injury. Physical therapy helps develop the strength and range of motion children need to move through their environment easily and effectively.

Physical therapy goals often include help with developmental milestones like sitting, standing, crawling and walking. Our licensed physical therapists also assess the need for orthotics (like splints and braces) and recommend adaptive equipment.

Physical Therapy Treatments

Gross motor skills involve the large muscles of the body that are used for functions such as standing, walking, lifting, reaching, sitting, kicking, jumping, running, maintaining balance and coordination.
If a child is having trouble functioning in any area of their lives, there is usually some way a therapist can help.  Even if the body’s ability is not expected to change, we frequently adapt the environment.  Typically, equipment assessment and use can include wheelchair adaptation/ordering, standards, walkers, ADL equipment and augmentative communication devices.  Physical, occupational and speech therapy work together to address these needs.
Children may develop inefficient patterns of walking that are not functional and can be detrimental to their joints.  Gait pattern differences can present themselves in a pattern of walking that is not developmentally typical.  Certain gait patterns may be developmentally appropriate for a toddler, but are not appropriate for a child over the age of 2.  Recognizing and correcting these patterns early can prevent joint pain or deformities, and potential issues with gross motor skills such as walking, running or jumping.
Kinesio Taping® involves the use of a special elastic therapeutic tape that is applied to the skin over a specific muscle or joint.  This taping method is very different than traditional taping methods that often involve rigid tape.  It is Kinesiotapes elastic properties that encourage use of weakened muscle groups and improve circulation.  In the pediatric population, Kinesiotape can be used for a variety of purposes, but its most common use is to encourage the use of proper muscles to perform specific movements over a period of time.  Increased use of a weakened muscle improves strength and the quality of movement improves.  Other therapeutic uses for Kinesiotape include pain management, edema (swelling) management and joint/tendon stabilization.
NDT is the primary treatment technique for individuals with central nervous system impairment such as children with cerebral palsy or traumatic brain injury.  NDT trained therapists believe that due to the central nervous system impairment, atypical posture and movement patterns are used by the child for function.  Unfortunately, it is the use of these patterns that lead to secondary impairments and dysfunction.  NDT trained therapists use clinical thinking to evaluate a person’s movement in order to determine the focus of each physical, occupational or speech therapy session.  Therapeutic handling is used to assist in the facilitation of typical movement to gain function.
TheraTogs are an exo-muscular system for neuromotor postural and sensory training.  The suit is worn under the patient’s clothes for up to 16 hours a day and provides the patient with body awareness, bone and joint development, sensory input, assists with stability issues, provides joint alignment and assists with motor performance. Go to theratogs.com for more information.
Play is a vital part of a child’s learning.  If milestones are not met, it can signal to medical professionals and parents a more serious problem, or the need for further investigation to identify the underlying cause of the delay.  Often times, the first signals of motor skill, sensory or cognitive delays present themselves as delayed milestones.  It is important to address these delays as soon as they are identified to prevent secondary impairments or compensatory movements that may lead to further motor, sensory, behavioral or cognitive delays.

Occupational therapists address these delays during treatment utilizing play activities where the child may not realize they are working on skill development.  As occupational therapists, our goal in all treatments is to find meaningful and purposeful activities that motivate the child to reach their full potential.

The PPHC Approach

The commitment of PPHC is to provide high quality, outcome-oriented healthcare to patients requiring specialized pediatric rehabilitation services in the home. This commitment is shared by every employee of PPHC as we strive daily for clinical excellence, high standards of patient care, partnerships with our families and communities, and ongoing therapy education.

By providing Physical, Occupational and Speech Therapy we are able to provide a valuable multidisciplinary approach that serves all the child’s therapy needs. In addition, consistent collaboration with doctors and community healthcare providers widen our ability to care for the children further. Frequent communication and cooperation with a child’s school is also taken into consideration as we provide the most thorough care possible to meet each child’s goals.

Our hope is to set goals with the patient and family and do everything we can to help a child reach their personal best. The family is a key component in optimizing therapy outcomes. We want all of our families to feel that they are involved and knowledgeable about the therapy and care their children are receiving, because help and follow through at home can make a world of difference in the effectiveness of therapy.

With caregiver collaboration and family centered treatment, we provide a level of excellence in therapy that we are proud to share with you.