Paediatric Physiotherapy assess, diagnose & treat neurological, developmental, cardio-respiratory & orthopedic conditions in children upto 18 years of age with focus on improving function and becoming independent. They provide individualized treatment to children with family involvement. Pediatric physiotherapist work with children of varying ages, ranging from premature born babies to adolescents, to ensure their optimal physical function and development. They are mainly concerned with movement, co-ordination, posture and cardiorespiratory system. Their aim is to provide the child and their family a program which they enjoy while participating and trying to become independent and to minimize 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. Physiotherapy has a positive and significant impact on pulmonary function, motor control, muscle strength, and physical endurance in pediatric patients.
Paediatric physiotherapists assess and treat infants and children with a range of conditions including:
- Cerebral palsy - from mild hemiplegia to severe quadriplegia;
- Developmental delay - due to hypotonia with or without diagnosis and may be gross motor or global;
- Syndromes and other genetic conditions;
- Spina bifida and neural tube defects;
- Muscular dystrophy and spinal muscular atrophy;
- Brachial plexus lesions;
- Juvenile chronic arthritis (JCA);
- Visual handicaps;
- Premature babies with dystonia;
- Postural problems - torticollis, scoliosis, talipes, metatarsus adductus, or idiopathic toe walkers.
Paediatric physiotherapists also work with a range of conditions to help older children and adolescents, including:
- Acquired brain injury and spinal injury;
- Neurological diseases;
- Post trauma injuries, such as fractures, sports injuries, post orthopedic surgery;
- Juvenile chronic arthritis and related conditions;
- Developmental conditions such as cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy and spina bifida;
- Cystic fibrosis and other respiratory disorders such as asthma;
- Burns and plastic surgery;
- Limb deficiency conditions.
Paediatric physiotherapists use various aids and exercises to strengthen affected muscles, and maintain muscle strength and also attain a level on independence in day-to-day activities of the child. They may use aids such as walkers or crutches or braces to correct the posture and aid in independent walking in cases where necessary. They also suggest home programs which aid in helping child attain his/her milestones, and also involve family in helping and understanding the child to attain his/her goal.