Kids Need Physio, too!
What even is pediatric physiotherapy, anyways?
Well, pediatric (or paediatric, as the British like to spell it) physiotherapy refers to physiotherapy designed for and targeted to infants and children, primarily to anyone under the age of 18. Pediatric physiotherapists have typically taken post-graduation courses that have focused on pathologies that are most often illnesses of childhood or have taken courses focused on gross motor development from infancy to childhood.
Can I just take my child to the physiotherapist that I use?
Well, the short answer is that absolutely you can! All physiotherapists graduate in Canada graduate from an accredited university that covers gross motor development and pathologies of childhood, and the national licensing exam that all physiotherapists have to pass in order to practice physiotherapy in Canada covers pediatric physiotherapy. However, the long answer is that particular physiotherapist may never have treated a child in their practice since graduating, and may not be well versed in the unique challenges of treating pediatric patients. Pediatric therapists have devoted their careers towards only treating children.
For example, this might be a commonly observed scene in a standard physiotherapy clinic...
...while this would be a more common sight in a pediatric therapy clinic.
Why would an infant need physiotherapy?
As babies grow older, we expect that they naturally progress through their gross motor development and figure out not only to hold up their head, but to sit independently, crawl, and even walk. Some infants and toddlers need a little help to ensure that this happens; they might need a bit extra help in their infancy to get things going, and then never need to see a physiotherapist again! Other infants are born with disorders such as cerebral palsy, spinal muscular atrophy, or down syndrome (to mention a few) that make progressing through development more difficult. A pediatric physiotherapist will be integral to helping those children continue to move their bodies from infancy and through childhood.
My 9 year old broke his leg, should he go see a pediatric physiotherapist?
Yes! Pediatric physiotherapists don't only help with gross motor development for babies, or children with specific diagnoses. Pediatric physiotherapists can help to provide rehabilitation from injuries or surgeries, and are well versed at adapting exercise programs so that they are best suited for children.
Making an appointment for your child with a pediatric physiotherapist is the best way to help them get to doing what they love doing best of all: playing!
Carley Townsend, Registered Physiotherapist
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