Pediatric physical therapists (PTs) work with children and their families to assist each child in reaching their maximum potential to function independently and to promote active participation in home, school, and community environments. Physical therapists have expertise in movement, motor development, and body function (eg, strength and endurance). They apply clinical reasoning during examination, evaluation, diagnosis, and intervention for children, youth, and young adults. As primary health care providers, PTs also promote health and wellness as they implement a wide variety of supports in collaboration with families, communities, and other medical, educational, developmental, and rehabilitation specialists.
What Role Does the Family Play?
Parents and families have the primary role in their child’s development. The pediatric PT
collaborates with the family to promote development and implement an individualized
intervention program. Families are supported through coordination of services, advocacy, and
assistance to enhance the development of their child. This can include:
• Positioning during daily routines and activities
• Adapting toys for play
• Expanding mobility options
• Using equipment effectively
• Facilitating safety for the home and community
• Accessing community programs and resources
• Providing information on the child’s physical and health care needs
• Supporting family caregiving
• Smoothing transitions from early childhood to school and into adult life
• Physical Developmental delays caused by trauma during birth
• Genetic syndromes affecting movement
• Balance and co-ordination
• Motor Planning, which is the ability to plan and execute movement with respect to the
• Self help strategies to improve movement in everyday life.
The process of supporting children and families begins with an interview, or conversation, to identify the child’s needs and family’s concerns and continues with an examination and evaluation of the child in the context of their daily routines and activities. This examination may include, but not be limited to, mobility, sensory and neuromotor development, use of assistive technology, muscle and joint function, strength and endurance, cardiopulmonary
status, posture and balance, and oral motor skills. The process of providing pediatric physical therapy continues with collaboration, consultation, and intervention.
Where Does Your Child Receive Pediatric Physical Therapy?
Pediatric physical therapy is provided in our unique natural learning environment, which
mirrors a home.