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At Invo-Progressus, our highly trained physical therapists work with children of all ages. Some of our patients have been injured in accidents; others are living with an illness, disease or disability that affects their ability to function and participate in their daily lives.
Whether your child is currently facing mild difficulties with movement or has significant motor problems (with or without additional challenges), consulting with a physical therapist can be essential to optimizing your child's comfort, independence, dignity and quality of life.
What Does a Physical Therapist Do?
Physical therapists (PTs) use exercise and noninvasive modalities to decrease pain and improve function in children. PTs undergo extensive training and must fulfill doctoral degrees (DPT) and licensure prior to practicing. In some (but not all) states, PTs have direct access — meaning, a patient does not need a referral from his or her physician to receive physical therapy.
Typical physical therapy services include exercises, adaptive equipment and environmental modifications (e.g., prosthetics, orthotics, wheelchairs), ultrasound and aquatic therapy. Treatments are tailored to be fun and enjoyable as much as they are safe and effective, so many pediatric PTs use games, balls, toys and so on during their sessions.
Conditions Treated With Physical Therapy
Common conditions in children treated by PTs include:
- Developmental delays
- Cerebral palsy
- Birth defects (e.g., spina bifida, scoliosis)
- Genetic disorders (e.g., Down syndrome)
- Orthopedic disabilities/injuries
- Heart and lung conditions
- Acute trauma (e.g., spinal cord injury, burns, near-drowning)
- Pediatric cancer
- Head injury (e.g., concussion, traumatic brain injury)
- Sports injury (e.g., muscle strains, ligament sprains)
- Muscle diseases (e.g., muscular dystrophy)
The Benefits of Physical Therapy for Kids
Research shows physical therapy for kids (including infants, toddlers, adolescents and teens) is safe and effective. It's a functionally based and drug-free way to minimize or alleviate symptoms, address underlying causes of dysfunction, and prevent recurring dysfunction and injury.
Pediatric PTs can be found in schools, homes, hospitals and outpatient clinics. In the school settings, for example, PTs play an important role in the development of individualized education programs (IEPs). Physical therapy for autism, as with other conditions, can help children learn how to function more appropriately and confidently within academic, athletic and social settings.
What to Expect From Children's Physical Therapy
Children's physical therapy treatment plans begin with thorough examinations, which include family and patient input, and special tests such as:
- Range of motion
- Muscle strength and function
- Neurological function
- Balance, vestibular function
Following the initial examination, specific goals are discussed and agreed upon by the therapist, child and family. Periodic assessments are made to monitor progress and adjust the plan of care as indicated. Since every child is different, treatment frequency and duration vary.
Are you curious about autism and physical therapy, or wondering how a PT can help your child with a different condition? Contact Invo-Progressus, we're here to connect you with the right resources to help your child heal and thrive.