Physical therapy is not just for adults that have been through physical traumas but it can be for anyone needing a little extra help in developing strength in muscles and motor skills, including children as young as infancy. This is called pediatric physical therapy- where children receive the benefits of physical therapy from a train professional. This is a specialized form of physical therapy because children grow and develop in a completely different way from adults. The physical therapists that specialize in pediatrics are trained to work with children and families in order to help each children develop to their full potential.
The exercises are similar to the ones used in adult physical therapy, but they are catered to children. In other words, the exercises are meant to be fun activities for the children as opposed to a physical work out or training session. There are lower body exercises as well as upper body exercises. Most of the work outs involve colors, shapes, and rewards in order to keep some focus.
Many parents will ask “what type of exercises will my child do?” It depends on the disabilities your child might have. If your child has mental barriers the exercises will be mild and focus on minimal motor skills like moving one item to another place. There is plenty of repetition, so fun items are used like colorful balls, rings, or blocks to keep the child interested. If your child is mentally capable of understanding but has trouble with moving a certain way larger motor skill work outs will be used. For instance, practicing stair climbing, jumping, throwing, and moving the legs in a controlled fashion (with the use of many props) could be seen as typical pediatric physical therapy exercises.
All children ages zero to twenty-one that are eligible have the right to seek and utilize physical therapy. A pediatric physical therapist has the goal to promote independence, strength, and social skills through working with each patient. Some physical therapists might teach their patients to learn skills that will help them use equipment effectively, play with toys, discover any needs the child might need physically and mentally, ease the transition from childhood to adult life, or expand mobility.
If you are curious where to find a physical therapist for your child, it is best to stick with the specialists. Contact your nearest hospital to see if they have a rehabilitation center and if so, if they have a physical therapist that specializes in children. It is also easy to locate one through extensive internet search.