Paediatric Physiotherapy

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What is Paediatric Physiotherapy?

Paediatric physiotherapists help children to achieve their optimal physical development. They have specialist knowledge in the movement, development, and conditions that are likely to affect the baby and a growing child.

What does the physiotherapist look at?

The physiotherapist look at:

  • Gross motor development;
  • Muscle tone and strengths;
  • Postural control;
  • Locomotion patterns/Gait training;
  • Neuromuscular function;
  • Orthotic needs;

Physiotherapy Interventions

Our assessment looks at the child’s posture, gait, strength, tone, joint range of movement and their gross motor skills.

The physiotherapist will discuss goals with the child and parents. A treatment programme will then be devised aimed at achieving these goals. From the assessment, a specific treatment programme is tailored to the child’s individual needs and goals. It is essential that treatment is age-appropriate and fun to ensure good compliance and to enable integration into the child’s daily routine.

physiotherapy interventions

How do I know if my child needs Physical Therapy?

Check how your child is:

  • Tolerating tummy time;
  • Sitting or standing without support;
  • Crawling or walking;
  • Walking and running without frequently tripping or falling;
  • Catching or throwing a ball;
  • Learning how to jump, skip, ride a bike or play sports;

Benefits from Physiotherapy

paediatric physiotherapy

Children can especially benefit from working with a Physiotherapy early on in life so that they can maximize strength and mobility while they are young or slow the progress of the degenerative disease. If your child has one of the following conditions, physical therapy may be something that can help them reduce pain, increase mobility, and gain independence.

Pediatric Conditions that Benefit from Physical Therapy:


While many people think of autism interventions as being essential for social and language skill development, children with autism also have the motor skill and sensory development needs that benefit from physical therapy. Some of the challenges that autistic children face include delays in large and small-movement skills, poor balance and coordination, walking instability, and difficulty controlling posture. These can be improved with the help of a Physical Therapist (PT). By working with a PT to increase motor skills, to improve balance and coordination your child can gain independence and participate in school and at home at a higher level.

Cerebral Palsy

Physical therapy can help children with this disorder increase strength, posture, and motor control and expand the range of things they can do. Therapy focuses on helping your child achieve what is within his or her potential through a combination of increasing gross motor ability and finding alternative ways to achieve goals. For someone with milder symptoms, this could mean walking with less assistance. For someone with more severe symptoms, this could mean operating a wheelchair.

Chronic Pain

A child may have chronic pain for a variety of reasons. Injuries, disorders, and diseases can all be causes of chronic pain. Whatever the cause, physical therapy may help reduce or eliminate your child’s chronic pain through movement, stretching, and strengthening. Every instance of chronic pain and its cause is unique – PT’s have the skill set to evaluate these cases and use evidence-based practice to come up with a treatment plan for your child.

Down Syndrome

Children with Down’s syndrome have looseness of ligaments, low muscle tone, and decreased strength. These physical attributes affect gross motor skill development. Children with down syndrome do the same activities that “typical” children do, but because they have to compensate for low muscle tone and increased flexibility (from loose ligaments), their different path to motor skill development comes with risks such as foot pain. It also leads to inefficiencies in walking and other movements. Physical therapists do not speed up motor development in their Down syndrome patients – they make sure that when these skills are developing, that movement patterns are efficient and not harsh on the body.

General Developmental Delays

Not every delay in motor skill development can be attributed to a disease or injury. Physical Therapist can help any child improve balance, strength, and motor skills. If your child is missing his or her milestones, you should always have them evaluated to see if physical therapy may help. Physical Therapist can help to improve balance, strength and to improve motor skills.

Neuromuscular Disorders

Signs of Neuromuscular disorders are: stumbling, waddling, trouble climbing stairs, Toe walking, difficulty pushing, trouble getting up after sitting. Physical therapy can benefit children with neuromuscular disorders such as muscular dystrophy. Even though these diseases are degenerative, physical therapy can maximize capability and quality of life throughout the course of the disease. PT’s work with children to maintain function as long as possible and then to adapt to loss of function. They also work to prevent and manage pain in children with these diseases. If your child has a neuromuscular disorder, PT may be an important part of reducing his or her pain and slowing the progression of disease.

Spinal cord injuries

They can greatly affect a child’s life – depending on the type of injury and severity they can cause paralysis, muscle weakness, breathing trouble, and loss of function in the bowels and bladder. Some spinal cord injuries may be the result of an accident, while others such as spina bifida are diagnosed at birth. Depending on your child’s needs and limitations due to the severity of the injury, Physical Therapist can help your child gain muscle strength, increase mobility and balance, and improve quality of life.


For children with congenital muscular torticollis, Physical Therapy can lengthen the shortened muscle that is causing the tilt in the neck. A PT may recommend a special collar that will help strengthen your child’s neck muscles and straighten the head and will also give you specific exercises you can use to strengthen your child’s neck at home. Signs of torticollis include head tilting to one side, limited range of head/neck motion, facial asymmetry, musculoskeletal issues.

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