Pediatric physical therapy is the evaluation and treatment of physical impairments in children, ranging in age from newborn to mid-20s. The goal of pediatric physical therapy is to assist children with physical challenges to maximize their independence and improve their mobility, self-care and other functional skills necessary for daily living. Our pediatric physical therapy incorporates hands-on techniques and therapeutic exercises with play and recreational activities to reach this goal. A child’s family plays an important part in pediatric physical therapy, including the development of client- and family-centered goals.
Our physical therapists work with the family and other therapists to design an individualized exercise program geared toward maximizing each child’s mobility and functional independence. Currently in Michigan, a physician referral is required for physical therapy. If you have concerns about your child’s gross motor development, contact his or her physician and ask about a physical therapy referral. Once the referral for physical therapy is written, an appointment can be set up for the physical therapy evaluation.
A typical physical therapy program for a child includes:
- Strengthening weak muscles
- Balance and coordination exercises
- Exercises to improve endurance
- Exercises to facilitate gross motor development
- Exercises to improve gait
- Family and client education
Each program is designed to meet the individual needs of the child and their family. Co-treatment is an option available at Children’s Therapy Corner. The pediatric physical therapist may co-treat with music therapy, occupational therapy or speech therapy. Children’s Therapy Corner’s family-centered approach encourages families to be involved and become advocates for their child’s independence. We strive to provide a comprehensive treatment program for each child.
Difference from School-Based Therapy
Outpatient pediatric physical therapy is often used in conjunction with school-based physical therapy. School-based therapy becomes involved when mobility, transportation or related accessibility interferes with a child’s ability to receive education, thereby making physical therapy educationally necessary. Often in school-based PT, the child is pulled from the classroom in order to receive therapy. The outpatient setting, on the other hand, offers more time for therapeutic activities and does not disrupt the child’s school day. Outpatient physical therapy also addresses functional activities and goals necessary for at home or in the community that may not be addressed in school physical therapy. Outpatient physical therapy is medically based, allowing a more comprehensive analysis of the underlying challenges to your child's global function, not only their educational needs.