Physical Therapy

Pediatric physical therapists (PTs) work with children and their families to assist each child in reaching their maximum potential to function independently and to promote active participation in home, school, and community environments. Physical therapists use their expertise in movement and apply clinical reasoning through the process of examination, evaluation, diagnosis, and intervention. As primary health care providers, PTs also promote health and wellness as they implement a wide variety of supports for children from infancy through adolescence in collaboration with their families and other medical, educational, developmental, and rehabilitation specialists.

Pediatric physical therapy promotes independence, increases participation, facilitates motor development and function, improves strength and endurance, enhances learning opportunities, and eases challenges with daily caregiving.

Common physical therapy diagnoses seen by pediatric therapists include:

• Torticollis
• Plagiocephaly (flat head)
• Developmental Delay
• Muscular Dystrophy
• Spina Bifida
• Traumatic Brain Injury
• Cerebral Palsy
• Down Syndrome
• Toe walking or other gait problems

Indicators your child may need physical therapy

Torticollis: In infants, head is tilted to one side due to tightness of the neck muscle

Delays in gross motor development: Rolling, sitting, crawling, standing, walking

Asymmetrical body use: child favors use of one leg/arm/etc. over the other

Abnormal or poor posture

Limited or excessive joint mobility

Floppiness or stiffness in muscle tone

Difficulty with balance and coordination

Excessive clumsiness

Awkward jumping or running patterns

Toe walking

Genetic disorders

Walking difficulties


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