Pediatric therapy is for children who do not move well nor is their balance exceptional. Some forms of pediatric therapy also encourage speech development and hearing issues, as well. In general, children whose physical movements make interacting with the world difficult. Pediatric therapy is designed to address these issues. Physical therapists design regimes that help children with functionality difficulties access and successfully navigate the world.
How Physical Therapy Helps
From infancy to adulthood, gross motor skills are essential for physical movement. Gross motor skills are necessary for large muscle movement so that the human body can walk, run and sit among other activities. Babies’ muscles develop so that they can lift and turn their heads. Young toddlers use the muscles in their shoulder and hips to crawl and then more of their leg muscles are used to walk thereafter. These same motor skills are required from adolescence to adulthood and mastery of them helps some to become star athletes. We all need the movement of our large muscles to move and live independently.
Licensed pediatric physical therapists or pediatric occupational therapists administer treatments and programs for children (and adults) who struggle with gross motor skills. They help the patient to sit, stand and walk. They help with the patient’s coordination and balance: standing up from a sitting position, for example. They also implement strategies and exercises that strengthen the patient’s muscles and by extension their overall physical functionality can improve.
Physical and pediatric therapy can be administered in an outpatient facility or in the patient’s home or school.
A pediatric occupational therapist specializes in using child-friendly techniques and tools, such as games and toys that the child is naturally attracted to. This helps foster an environment of safety and fun. A pediatric therapy center may resemble a playground with its swings and slides. The therapies used are in a controlled environment and administered by a professional.
Additionally, there are pediatric speech therapists who employ techniques in order to treat a variety of problems with a child’s or an adult’s speech. Hearing can affect speech. Over 25 million American adults have hearing loss due to exposure to loud noises. Speech therapy is often used on children, however, since their hearing and speech are in the developmental stages.
Pediatric occupational therapy programs also educate families, guardians, and others on how they can participate with the child’s therapy at home or at school. The exercises used both with the physical therapist and the caregiver reinforces the child’s newly learned patterns, which will help them grow in confidence and independence.