Parents of children who require pediatric physical therapy often feel helplessness as they just can’t help them. It can therefore be a relief to know that physical therapists are caring and compassionate health professionals who know about how the body moves and how to improve movement and treat children as well as tiny babies. They know that kids learn by playing, so they make sure that have lots of therapeutic toys for kids to use, so you will find things like balls and swings in a pediatric therapy gym. Their therapy sessions are always fun as well as hard work to ensure muscles are made stronger in a positive environment.
For some kids it may only be necessary to see a physical therapist just once or twice, while other children may have to go regularly for months and even years, depending on the problems they have. Physical therapy also has the ability to retrain the brain on how to control motor movements. The physical therapist will also use certain manual skills like craniosacral therapy, massaging, joint mobilization and manual traction to decrease pain and spasms in the muscles of the child.
Establishing Treatment Plans And Goals
Physical therapy is not an easy job; it can be demanding, but the rewards are great, and most physical therapists get great satisfaction in knowing that in offering patients both long and short-term care, they are bringing about a change for the better for others. The first task of the physical therapist will be to find out as much as possible about the child’s medical history and then with this information to evaluate the patient’s condition. With this knowledge, the physical therapist will be able to set a treatment plan and treatment goals with different types of pediatric physical therapy methods.
Physical Therapy For Kids With Birth Defects And Injuries
Kids needing physical therapy are those who have been born with birth defects or who may have experienced an injury or disease. Do you have a children who you believe can benefit from physical therapy? Through a series of safe and effective treatments, including exercise and massage, your child will be able to return to living a normal lifestyle. Pediatric physical therapy treats disorders in children and there are many clinics today offering different kids’ programs where the physical development as well as the child’s emotional development is all part of the program.
Most parents enrol their children in these programs because they realize that going through an invasive and risky surgery could be emotionally traumatic for the child. Alternative natural treatments like pediatric physical therapy imposes very little risk, if any, and children quickly get used to the techniques. A series of range of motion exercises can help children gain mobility and relief from physical injuries and fractures, providing effective therapeutic services to help children return to their normal day-to-day routines. The licensed physical therapists will assess the child and may see that there will be a need for orthotics. Some of the other services they offer include:
- functional mobility
- wheelchair and equipment evaluation – teaching the use of assistive devices like canes, strollers, crutches or wheelchairs
- educate parents about risks and how to avoid injuries and guidelines for exercise
- pain management
- pelvic floor rehabilitation for urinary incontinence
- neurodevelopmental treatment
- torticollis treatment …. and others
Torticollis for instance is the tightening of a child’s neck muscles, and this causes the child’s heat to tilt to one side and then turn to the other side. Treatment is very important if you want to avoid surgery, prevent a shortening of the involved muscle and to also decrease neck and head pain. The child finds it difficult to hold the head in an upright position and feed itself. The physical therapist evaluates the child and checks for other problems that often go hand in hand with children with torticollis like hip dysplasia, spine problems and abnormal shape of the head. The physical therapist, in treating torticllis will:
- improve the child’s ability to turn the head
- encourage child to lift head while lying on the stomach
- encourage symmetrical use of upper extremities
- encourage the child in proper weight shifting like sitting, rolling and walking
Different Treatments For Serious Problems
The physical therapy offered will help develop the strength and range of motion needed to move around. Older children with injuries may have to learn to sit, stand, crawl and walk all over again.
Physical therapy for kids provides specialized physical therapy to children with movement problems from mild to severe motor impairment, Down Sydrome, speech-language disorders, genetic and congenital anomalies, cleft palate, vision problems, hearing problems, Cerebral Palsy, Spina Bifida as well as other genetic disorders. Many of these children cannot voice their wishes and fears and some of them simply retreat more and more deeply into themselves, ignoring everyone. The ability to communicate, listen and see is so powerful a human need that being robbed of it is like being robbed of your very identity.
A Physical Therapist Must Be Prepared For Major Challenges
Physical therapy has, as its main focus, the wish to reach children with these problems as much as they themselves want to reach everyone around them. It can be disheartening for you as a parent, when soon after birth, something as simple as an ear infection can develop into a raging temperature and seizures. Tests indicate viral encephalitis and doctors administer repeated doses of anti-convulsants with the news that your child could have brain damage. As the days turn into months you discover that your child doesn’t coo like other children but just cries. The doctors tell you that the encephalitis had short circuited the part of the brain needed for expressive language, and that your child will never be able to process sounds into words. Your concerns may start when you see things like your child falling often or generally not keeping up with children of their age. Children with these problems can be treated at any age,, and it is always a good idea for you, as the parents, to become involved with therapy sessions to that you can continue the therapy back at home. This is important because your child picks up skills far quicker through ongoing repetition. If you don’t want your child’s condition deteriorating, then you should consider physical therapy as soon as possible.
Pediatric Physical Therapists want to make a real difference to the lives of children who are held back from joining in with the normal activities of other children because of a physical setback or the result of complications during childbirth or soon after. The physical therapy department is equipped to promote rehabilitation and the therapist delivers a number of different treatment options. Children entering into physical therapy programs don’t show improvements overnight. Physical therapy is a long process requiring patience and perseverance. It is worth it because efforts will be life-changing.
Physical Therapy Has Specialty Areas
There are specialty areas in the field of physical therapy. Some of these are:
- Orthopedic Physical Therapy – the therapist diagnoses and treats disorders and injuries of the musculoskeletal system. Orthopedic therapists are trained in the treatment of post-operative joints, arthritis and sports injuries for instance.
- Neurological Physical Therapy – the therapists work with children with a neurological disorder or disease and with problems like paralysis, poor balance, vision impairment and difficulty with walking
It is often difficult for autistic children to execute physical movement, and they often seem to be clumsy and inattentive. Occupational and physical therapies will help to improve fine motor skills towards ease of movement. An autistic child may understand how to get dressed, but the brain may not allow movement. With autistic children, it is all about repetition before the brain begins to understand. Weak muscles, stiff joints and lack of endurance make movement difficult, and autistic children, with their tendency not to move, will need to be encouraged in activities, bearing in mind always that with the autistic child it is all about repetition.
Down Syndrome Children
Down syndrome is a genetic condition and the child has many cognitive and physical delays. Many children with down syndrome have heart defects as well as hearing difficulties and celiac disease. The purpose of physical therapy in Down Syndrome is to help the child learn to move his body the right way. Without physical therapy most children with Down Syndrome will adjust their movements to compensate for their low muscle tone, leading to pain and other problems in the future, and this is why physical therapy is so important – to teach proper physical movement.
Becoming A Physical Therapist
People who are interested in working with children, are interested in how the body works as well as in science and biology will need to go to college for about four years and then to a graduate school for another two years.The entry level degree is the doctorate of physical therapy. There are numerous branches of physiotherapy in disciplines like orthopedic, neurological and sports therapy. In order to practice as a licensed physical therapist you need to obtain a Graduate Degree. The basic courses you will need to study are Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Physical Sciences.
In addition to the courses and studies you will take, you will need to get some clinical or practical experience to prepare you to work in the field. There are some requirements before you get a license to practice as a physical therapist and you will need to make sure that first and foremost you get your graduate degree in physical therapy from an accredited institution. Graduates will also need to pass the National Physical Therapy Examination, and each state has their own requirements. See www.visalaw.com/IMG/ptchart.pdf for these requirements from the different states.
Once you have your license, continuing education courses will be needed to keep up to date with development in the field which is important because licensing has to be renewed biannually.
Tuition Fees And Financial Aid
Currently, tuition fees are about EUR5,400, with a deposit of EUR500 when you book the course. Tuition fees include the costs of all in-term examinations, and class notes. If you would like to apply for a scholarship, student loan or grant for studying physical therapy, there are many opportunities online from individuals and organizations. You can complete a FAFSA -Free Application for Federal Student Aid – which can be done through the official FAFSA website. It is always a good idea to apply for a number of scholarships to increase your odds of receiving financial aid.
After training, physical therapists can work in hospitals, physicians’ offices, nursing care facilities as well as home health care services as well as open private practices.
Online physical therapy colleges and universities also offer programs. Before choosing a program, students must determine what their career goals are. Most classes in associate’s and transitional doctorate programs in physical therapy can be completed online, but students will need to complete internship hours at a physical therapy practice as part of their coursework. http://education-portal.com is an excellent place to look for top colleges and universities to do your physical therapy training. For instance The Institute of Physical Therapy has on their website, iptas.ie, opportunities for you to find out how you can balance work and study by doing a B. Sc. degree course over 17 weekends, which means you won’t have to leave your job if you want to study.
The career path of a pediatric physical therapist is demanding, and it requires patience and a willingness to put the needs of the child before your own wishes. Because you will be dealing with children, you will need to be patient and compassionate. Pediatric physical therapy is a major section of physical therapy, and with the advancement in medical technology, children with physical disabilities can have their lives considerably improved.