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Paediatric Physiotherapy | Does your child need it?

Information about paediatric physiotherapy is scarce and scattered over the internet. Hence, there is a lot of confusion about what it exactly is and how to understand if your child needs it. By definition, it is a branch of physiotherapy dedicated solely to children. These therapists provide for infants as old as one day, up till adolescents. 


Primary functions of Paediatric Physiotherapist

These therapists deal with children who experience challenges in normal physical development and movement. They specialise in understanding, assessing and diagnosing the difficulties that a child might be going through, in a way that general physiotherapists might not be trained to do. The functions and fallibilities of a child's body vary vastly from that of an adult, which is why it is advisable to work with a paediatric physiotherapist if one's child needs assistance.


How do I identify if my child needs physiotherapy?

All children are different and so are their needs, but here are a few scenarios which may entail at least a visit to the physiotherapist, to make sure that your child is getting the support they might be needing:

  • If your child is having difficulties with gross motor skills like jumping, hopping or catching a ball
  • If your baby or toddler is exceedingly clumsy or uncoordinated
  • If your baby cannot hit the motor milestones like rolling over, crawling, holding their neck up, etc.
  • If diagnosed with conditions like cerebral palsy, down syndrome, or other kinds of musculoskeletal issues.
  • If they are suffering through a rheumatological condition like arthritis or chronic pain
  • If your child is diagnosed with an ailment that affects their bones or joints
  • If they have suffered through physical injury or trauma for which they need assistance in rehabilitation
  • If they have chronic respiratory conditions like primary ciliary dyskinesia or cystic fibrosis


You can also visit your general physician who is well-versed with your child's medical history; they can help you pick the appropriate therapist. You can expect your first visit to consist of assessment; the therapist will observe and examine your child's motor skills, after which they'll identify the issue and the causes behind it. 


Finally, a treatment program will be designed, keeping in mind your child's difficulties to which your Paediatric Physiotherapist will set goals to maximise their strength and abilities. 


What are the benefits? 

The most crucial aim of a paediatric physiotherapist is to help your child gain physical independence. Therapists use various methods like soft tissue massage, stretching exercises, gait training etc., that work towards improving their range of motion, flexibility, posture, reflexes, balance and more. 


Since working with children demands a very different skill set, the treatment programs are planned and orchestrated, keeping that in mind. Activities are often fun, playful and engaging while using methods that would require the child to work on their motor and developmental skills. 


Working with a physiotherapist early on would significantly improve your child's chances of recovering from trauma or developing essential motor skills.


Yours in self-care,

Adrian Wilk

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