Ensuring that children are healthy and reach proper milestones in their physical development is the concern of many parents. Whether a child is held back due to injury, illness or other medical complications, it is the role of a pediatric physical therapist to restore the child’s ability to move and function and help them reach their full developmental potential.
Children of all ages and backgrounds may see a physical therapist at some point for a wide variety of conditions. A key concept in pediatric physical therapy is age appropriate development, or what a child should be able to accomplish physically at certain age. When a child falls behind these milestones, it becomes the therapist’s primary job to help them catch up. This is accomplished by facilitating proper motor skills and independence.
The ability to perform and move properly is tremendously important not just for a child’s physical well-being but also for their social and emotional health. Few things are more troubling for a school-aged child than knowing they cannot look and act like other children their age. Providing physical therapy to children doesn’t just help them overcome difficulties with their bodies, it instills in them the mental confidence they need to be successful. A pediatric physical therapist may often become part therapist, part coach and part counselor for children as they overcome the emotional hardship that often accompanies physical difficulty or injury.
A pediatric physical therapist is also important in bringing families together. Support from parents and siblings is just as vital to a child’s recovery and success as the actual therapy. The therapist helps educate parents and family members so that even outside of therapy sessions they are able to help and support the child in daily life.