Role of physiotherapy
Paediatric physiotherapists work with people of varying ages from premature babies to adolescents to
ensure optimal physical function and development. Like all physiotherapists, they
are concerned with movement, co-ordination, posture and the cardiorespiratory system.
The aim of the paediatric physiotherapist is to provide a program that the client will enjoy,
while encouraging them to participate and become independent.
Paediatric physiotherapists aim to minimise the effects of physical impairment to promote optimum function and
musculoskeletal development. Advice on activities and stretches offered by the physiotherapist can assist
in maintaining full range of movement and prevention of contracture.
Role of physiotherapy
Paediatric physiotherapists are therapists who have expertise and skills in managing children with a range of conditions
affecting their physical development, mobility and ability to participate in activities of everyday life.
Paediatric physiotherapists offer a range of assessment, treatment and programs to children aged from the new-born to the young adult.
From the initial assessment, the physiotherapist will advise you of the most appropriate management plan for your child’s needs.
The physiotherapist interviews children and their families, and uses physical examinations to diagnose the source of the child’s movement difficulties.
Therapists work to improve children’s motor development, strength, range of motion, endurance, gait difficulties, balance, coordination,
heart and lung endurance, and delayed motor development.
Goals are developed in consultation both child and family, and progress is evaluated each visit.
Treatment approaches are specific depending on the child’s condition. This might include exercises,
gait retraining, neurodevelopmental therapy, splinting and positioning, cardiorespiratory intervention and education.
Standardised assessment techniques and outcome measures such as Alberta Infant Motor Scale (AIMs), Movement ABC II, Neuro Sensory Motor Development
Assessment (NSMDA), GMFM, and Bayley III can be used to evaluate progress or provide a formal report of your child’s abilities.
The physiotherapist may also recommend the involvement of other specialties. When required we will arrange
for referral to other health professionals for consultation.
Paediatric physiotherapists manage a broad range of conditions affecting children.
Here are some common indicators for intervention and diagnoses seen:
Rehabilitation after orthopaedic surgery – including multi-level surgery
ehabilitation for tone management – Botulinum Toxin
Rehabilitation after major medical illness
Acquired Brain Injury (including traumatic brain injuries, strokes and other causes of ABI)
Chronic fatigue syndrome
Sports injuries and musculoskeletal pain
Postural variations e.g. flat feet, knock knees, in-toeing, scoliosis
Recovery from orthopaedic surgery including corrective surgery for the spine and lower limb
Neurological conditions, including
Peri and post-natal trauma
Spinal cord injuries
Guillane-Barre Syndrome and multiple sclerosis,
muscular dystrophies and atrophies.
Developmental / Early years
Delayed motor milestones
Coordination issues / Clumsiness / Falls
Torticollis (wry neck)
What can you do to help us with your treatment
During your first appointment, we will need to find out from you about your problem, how it
started and how it is affecting you.
We may also need to ask you several questions about your problem
to allow us to fully understand your problem. We will discuss with
you what your goals and concerns are about your problem. To properly
assess your problem area, we will ask for your permission to remove
some of your outer clothing so that we can see the affected area and
perform movements and test on you to establish exactly the cause of
your problem. You are requested to bring all the previous MRI, CT,
Ultrasound, X-Ray , Discharge summary , Doctor Prescription etc. along with you.
- How long will my assessment or treatment session last?
- Dependent upon your problem, your initial assessment may last up to 45 minutes.
- Follow up treatment sessions may last up to 30 minutes-1hour.