Children are not just little adults.As growth and development continue for almost 2 decades, a physiotherapist working with this population must have special education in the field of pediatrics so the issues affecting your child (usually multi faceted and often complicated) are appropriately addressed to ensure functional independence and maximum potential are achieved. A skilled pediatric physiotherapist, trained in pediatric development, examination/evaluation, and treatment techniques, will be able to incorporate complicated therapeutic strategies into seemingly play based therapies so the child will enjoy every session while experiencing evidence based goal focused interactions.
The pediatric physiotherapists working with Access at Home Physiotherapy (AAHPT) are experienced and specifically educated in this subspecialty of the physiotherapy profession. They will work directly with the child but also teach the family and caregivers how to manage their child to optimize function while ensuring the physiotherapy goals are integrated and reinforced in all activities throughout the day.
Sessions can be provided one at one at home to involve the family and caregivers, or at school to augment the school based programs or at a local pool to experience the many benefits of pool therapy where techniques can be taught to the family and provided in a diversional fun environment or a combination of all these. The treating physiotherapists will openly communicate with the child’s physicians and work collaboratively with other members of the health care team.
Issues affecting a child’s health, developmental milestones or physical movementcan have a far reaching impact on their long term gross or fine motor skills and create physical challenges later in life. If addressed early, physiotherapy interventions will stimulate normal controlled movement patterns and minimize, or even prevent, long term mobility problems by facilitating appropriate developmental milestones.
Developmental delay indicates that a child has not met the developmental milestones expected for that age. A trained physiotherapist will intervene, work with the child and family with the expectation that a disability will be prevented and the child’s ongoing development normalized.
Torticollis: is the shortening of a muscle in the neck which causes the head to tilt to the same side and turn in the opposite direction. Torticollis can be congenital (present at birth) or acquired (developed after birth); without appropriate attention, the muscle gets shorter and tighter, becomes more difficult for the baby to straighten the head and turn it to the other side. Babies need head movement to follow objects, find a food source, and to move/roll independently. If untreated, this may affect the ability to voluntarily turn the head indirectly leading to feeding problems and delay a normal physical development. Early intervention is critical to the prevention of future problems and is easily addressed by a pediatric physiotherapist.
Neurological conditionssuch as spina bifida, cerebral palsy, brain injuries, abnormal muscle tone, nerve injuries, all result in serious movement impairments. Damaged nerves cannot work the muscles properly; muscles can be too tight, too floppy, too strong or too weak and lack the ability to move the body in a controlled manner. The physiotherapist must simulate normal developmental patterns, inhibit unwanted movements, facilitate neuromuscular patterned movements and prevent unnecessary muscular contractures that can be very problematic in future years. The therapy goals are always to maximize and normalize function, teach the family and caregivers, and advise on self management. Advice on therapeutic equipment or mobility aids will be provided if and when necessary.
Orthopedics: addresses problems related to muscular and skeletal systems. Due to growth, development or congenital issues, treatment approaches will differ significantly from the adult population. AAHPT PT’s work with children of all ages dealing withcongenital disorders (muscular dystrophy, scoliosis, kyphosis, club foot, hip dysplasia), post surgical (fractures, iliozarov procedures, tendon repairs), post trauma (car accident rehab, amputations, general rehab), arthritic ( rheumatic diseases), sport injuries (Osgood-Schlatter's disease, tendonitis, sprains, manual therapy, growth related injuries) and specialized equipment prescription.
Cardiac and Pulmonary Physiotherapy(cystic fibrosis, respiratory complications of chronic neuromuscular disease, asthma, post cardiac surgery) involves assessment of and interventions to improve respiratory function, breathing patterns, secretion clearance, respiratory muscle strength, the child’s general physical condition and general fitness.
Cancer Rehab: recent American research revealed childhood brain tumor cancer survivors in their 20s have physical fitness measures closer to individuals in their 60s and 70s, largely due to the sedentary lifestyle most children experience while undergoing cancer treatment. As cancer treatment often impacts an individual’s physical functional level, PT’s are the experts to advise on mobility challenges, functional limitations and other issues that arise during cancer treatment. A compromised immune system is a side effect of many cancer therapies so in home physiotherapy not only protects the child from unnecessary exposure to prolific germs/viruses in public clinics and hospitals but also focuses on positive activities while convalescing at home.