Why do kids need physiotherapy? What do you do?
When I tell people I am a paediatric physiotherapist, or a physiotherapist who works with babies and children, people frequently respond with “Um, ok. What do kids need to see a physio for?”.
Most people generally have an idea what physio’s might do for adults – help people with movement difficulties. This might include helping people following injuries such as hamstring strains, rolled ankles; helping people who have painful knees, shoulders, backs, necks; and helping people to learn to move again following surgery or a neurological injury such as a stroke or a brain injury. But not many people know what a physio might do for a baby or child.
Children are not just mini-adults – they are built differently, move differently and think differently. As a result, babies and children will benefit from seeing a physiotherapist who is trained and experienced in paediatrics. Paediatric physiotherapists are experts in child development, particularly in relation to the development of movement. Movement is a very important aspect of development for babies and children. Movement allows babies and children to explore their bodies and how they work, as well as their environment and all the things in their world – being able to move easily and successfully is essential for learning and growing.
Paediatric physiotherapists have expert skills in the assessment, identification and diagnosis of, and treatment of child development and movement difficulties. We have highly developed hands on skills, which we use with a big dash of fun, creativity and playfulness, to develop individualised therapy programs for each of our clients. We collaborate with the child, the child’s family, other health professionals and teachers or educators. Our treatment programs aim to optimise the health, well-being, and abilities of each child to enable them to move and participate in everyday activities, like playing, learning, going to school, and being part of a family and community.