Pediatric physical therapists are uniquely trained to identify movement disorders and delays. They specialize in evaluating the high risk infant or one that is suspected of having a neurological disorder. They also treat children as they develop into childhood and adolescence. Treatment includes exercises that improve strength, balance, coordination, and endurance. Some goals of physical therapy focus on helping infants achieve their expected developmental milestones and helping children improve their function and mobility. Physical therapy also helps to relieve pain and limit permanent physical disabilities. Therapists teach children to use assistive and adaptive devices, such as crutches, walkers and wheelchairs. They also evaluate and make recommendations for orthotics. Parent education and involvement is important in helping children achieve expected goals during therapy.
Referrals for physical therapy are typically generated through your pediatrician. If you have concerns regarding your child’s development, it is suggested that you discuss these with your pediatrician and receive a prescription for a physical therapy evaluation.