What is Pediatric 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.
cited from Section on Pediatrics, APTA
What to expect during physical therapy sessions:
The primary focus of treatment is on teaching body awareness, so that patients are able to feel and own their changes. Movement strategies are used as actively and as slowly as possible. Reflex Integration therapy is imbedded into every treatment, as it provides a means for the body to feel safe. When the body trusts that it will be protected it is able to adapt from whatever forces are presented to it, then growth and progress occurs.
Following treatment sessions, patients are noted to have better alignment, better movement patterns, improved balance and coordination, and most importantly, tend to be calmer with an increased sense of safety. Greater visual and auditory organization occurs in conjunction with a more organized movement system. It is noted that cognitive gains and emotional stability follow motor organization. When movement can occur at the level of a primary reflex motor pattern, it leaves the cortex free to function efficiently and creatively.