Physical Therapy

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What Does a Physical Therapist Do?

Our physical therapist evaluates and provides therapy for children with developmental and motor delays. This includes children with:

Abnormal Muscle tone – hypertonia (high muscle tone) is characterized by stiff joints and difficulty relaxing muscles for movement. Hypotonia (low muscle tone) is characterized by floppy muscles and difficulty in sustaining muscle strength for movement.

Delay in developmental milestones – Physical Therapist can promote play activities to facilitate physical developmental sequence (rolling, crawling on all fours, pulling to stand, walking, running).

Mobility – Physical Therapist can improve mobility of a child who is not walking by fitting the child with a proper seating system. This may include a corner chair (to allow the child to sit), a wheelchair (to transport child to and from school), assistive devices to make walking more independent (walkers, crutches, braces), assistive devices to make standing more independent (standers).

Muscle Strengthening – The Physical Therapist can improve a child’s strength, posture, coordination and balance through play exercises using games and play activities. 

 The most common diagnoses in children that physical therapist may treat include cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, spina bifida, developmental delay and autism.


Does My Child Need Physical Therapy?

As your child grows, he or she will develop gross motor (larger body movements) and fine motor skills (using small muscles to grasp, manipulate and control objects). It is important know the different stages of development and growth.

At 9 months old, your infant should be able to:

  • Roll to both sides
  • Sit with no support
  • Demonstrate motor symmetry (use both sides of the body equally)
  • Grasp and transfer objects hand to hand

At 18 months old, your toddler should be able to:

  • Sit, stand and walk independently
  • Grasp and manipulate small objects
  • Help undress themselves
  • Drink from a cup

At 3 years old, your child should be able to:

  • Climbs well and runs easily
  • Pedals a tricycle
  • Walks up and down stairs with one foot on each step

If you child is not reaching these developmental milestones, your child may need to visit a physical therapist.