General Info


Diagnosis


Intervention


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General information



Article provided by Joyce Malia, PT, PCS, Board Certified Pediatric Clinical Specialist

The pediatric physical therapist works with children of all ages and their families in helping the child to achieve functional movement following an injury or a disability. Pediatric physical therapists may work in a variety of settings: in hospitals, outpatient clinics, rehabilitation centers, schools, infant programs, in homes and in private practice and other community settings.


Originally pediatric physical therapy emphasized orthopedic approaches in the treatment of children with polio. The children with polio received therapy to help alleviate pain, to increase flexibility of muscles and joints, and to help improve their motor skills and functional mobility.

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Diagnosis

The scope of practice expanded to include the treatment of children with neurological disorders, such as, cerebral palsy and other brain injuries. Today the pediatric physical therapist may be involved with treating premature infants in a neonatal intensive care unit, providing aquatic therapy in a pool for childen with muscle disease, screening for postural problems in school-aged children, or provide sports training or conditioning for the young athlete.

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Intervention

If a family, a physician, or another health or educational professional is concerned that a child has gross motor delays (large body movements, such as sitting, walking, etc.) then a referral to a pediatric physical therapist may be indicated. The PT will assess or evaluate such areas as the child's joint flexibility, posture, endurance, balance, coordination, muscle strength, muscle tone, motor control, functional movement, motor planning, and positioning and equipment needs and determine if the child would benefit from physical therapy services to help alleviate a motor problem. The physical therapist would discuss the outcomes of the evaluation with the family and the child and recommend a treatment plan to include the methods, duration, and frequency of treatment.

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