What is Physical Therapy & how will a Brighton Physical Therapist Work With My Child?
Brighton Center physical therapists (PTs) provide physical therapy services through the Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) program with expertise in movement, motor development, and body function (eg, strength, coordination). PTs provide care that promotes active participation in daily routines (in home, in community and other relevant settings), optimizes movement and mobility, enables access to community programs, and supports family caregiving. PTs also promote health and wellness in collaboration with the child and family, medical providers, developmental and rehabilitation specialists, and educational providers.
Physical therapy (PT) begins with an evaluation to determine areas of need and/or concerns through conversation with the family as well as by examination and evaluation of body structure/function (eg, muscle and joint function, sensory and neuromotor performance, posture), ability to perform specific activities (eg, balance and mobility), participation in various relevant and meaningful activities (eg, play with family and/or peers, participate in childhood games) and needs for assistive devices (eg, adaptive toys and/or equipment).
Once a plan of care is established to include target outcomes as well as frequency of visits, PT may take place in a variety of settings including at home, at child care centers, and in the community within the context of every day routines and using toys and other supports typically found within those settings. Because children learn through play, interventions are embedded within play activities to optimize motivation, meaningful participation and joy. Assistive devices and/or toy and equipment adaptations/modifications may be considered to optimize the child’s movement and ability to participate in desired play or other desired activities.
Of utmost importance is the collaborative relationship between the PT and parent(s)/caregiver(s) to facilitate child- and family-centered care. Visits are typically scheduled for 45 minutes to 1 hour. During that time, activities are planned jointly based on parent-identified needs/priorities and target outcomes. Activities are practiced within usual routines, while the PT provides instruction and modeling of activities and facilitates parent(s)/caregiver(s) practice of the same activities with discussion and feedback with parent(s)/caregiver(s) throughout the visit. Equipping children through use of play and participation in daily routines that addresses areas of need and empowering parent(s)/caregiver(s) with knowledge and skills to carry over strategies within daily routines is essential.
How do I know if my child might benefit from Physical Therapy?
Babies develop at different paces based on so many different factors. Just because one child learns to walk at 10 months and another at 13 months isn’t an indicator of any kind of medical issue, and won’t predict which baby is going to end up as a star athlete. But there does come a time for concern, and that’s when you should speak up to your child’s doctor. They can refer your child to be evaluated by a specially trained pediatric physical therapist like the ones at Brighton Center. On that note, here are six warning signs to look out for:
- Baby prefers to turn head only to one side
- Baby is not bearing weight on legs by 6 months
- Baby is not sitting by 8 months
- Baby is not crawling by 12 months
- Baby is not walking by 18 months
- Child only walks on tip toes for more than 6 months