What is Paediatric Physiotherapy?
The Association of Paediatric Chartered Physiotherapists (APCP) give the following description:
“Paediatric physiotherapy is the treatment and care of babies, children and young people from birth to 19 years. Paediatric physiotherapists bring their specialist skills as physiotherapists and have additional expert knowledge and experience of child development and of childhood disabilities.” (APCP, 2014)
Paediatric Physiotherapists use their assessment skills to identify problems, and their knowledge and experience, backed by scientific evidence, to create individualised treatment plans to maximise physical potential and improve outcomes. They work closely with the child, their caregivers, education and healthcare providers, ensuring clear communication, to optimise therapeutic potential.
What do Paediatric Physiotherapists treat?
Paediatric Physiotherapists can treat a wide variety of childhood conditions. Some will be further specialised in treating certain types of conditions, or treating specific age groups, based on their experience and training. At Central Minds, our Physiotherapist, Victoria, focuses mainly on the treatment of 0-3 year olds with neurological, congenital or developmental issues, but will also treat older children.
Conditions that Victoria can treat or manage include the following:
- Developmental delay
- Co-ordination difficulties
- Neurological conditions e.g. cerebral palsy, head injury
- Congenital disorders e.g. spina bifida, limb deficiencies
- Learning difficulties
- Congenital syndromes and metabolic diseases
- Conditions where mobility is affected
- Neuromuscular disorders e.g. muscular dystrophy
- Orthopaedic conditions e.g. positional talipes, torticollis, plagiocephaly
- Acute injuries e.g. sports injuries, post-fracture rehabilitation
- Growth related conditions e.g. knee/hip pain, postural back pain, scoliosis
What should I expect from a session?
In an initial assessment session, a full history would be taken of your child’s presenting issue(s), your concerns, and details of any previous intervention received. Depending on the presenting condition, and age of the child, the approach for treatment planning and further sessions will differ.
With infants and young children, the majority of treatment sessions focus on helping to teach the caregivers to assist the child in acquiring motor skills and reaching their motor and developmental milestones. This may be through specific handling techniques, play activities, and often simply through encouraging tasks that would normally be done as part of your daily routine. Sometimes there are more specific tasks or exercises that would be beneficial, and these can also be taught in sessions.
For older children, the focus on treatment planning and delivery shifts to promoting engagement of the child in their own treatment plan, setting achievable short-term goals, and ensuring caregivers understand how to assist the child in implementing any activities to be completed outside of the treatment session, e.g. home exercise programmes.
For all children, a continuous cycle of reassessment and goal reviews during sessions enables progression to be monitored, and treatment to be adapted appropriately to improve outcomes.
Every child is different, and therefore every treatment session will differ. This may be due to the presentation of the child’s condition, the child or family’s goals for therapy, or simply that different children engage in different ways with physiotherapy. One of the fundamentals of paediatric physiotherapy is finding the approach that works best for each child and their family and having the ability to adapt. Victoria aims to provide a fun, comfortable environment in which children and their families can engage with physiotherapy, and learn how to maximise the potential for improved outcomes.
To find out more about Victoria, please visit her website at https://vctherapies.com
Association of Paediatric Chartered Physiotherapists (APCP), 2014. Physiotherapy for Children Leaflet. [Online] Available at: https://apcp.csp.org.uk/system/files/physiotherapy_for_children_leaflet_2014.pdf