Watching your child grow and celebrating their development is an exciting time for a parent – but we all know it can be worrying when you see they are not making as much progress as they should. There is lots of advice online and in parenting books outlining the different ages and milestones your child is expected to meet – and using their playmates and nursery friends can also be a helpful guide and a useful way of identifying issues. This is where Paediatric Physiotherapy comes into play.
A parent might decide to call upon the expert advice of a Physiotherapist for a range of reasons including:
- Diagnosing developmental delay
- Helping your child reach milestones such as sitting, crawling, walking, jumping
- Strengthening muscles
- Improving balance and mobility
- Intervening with mild but common issues such as incorrect gait, joint hypermobility, plagiocephaly and weakened muscle tone
Developmental delay refers to when a child is not reaching milestones such as sitting, head control, rolling, crawling, walking, jumping or talking at a rate which is expected. A small difference or taking a little longer is nothing to worry about – all children develop at different rates! But if your child is developing later or demonstrating other symptoms such as reduced muscle tone in the body, difficulty with handwriting, walking, or tying shoes, it might be good to have a physiotherapy assessment. Paediatric Physiotherapy can help to increase physical and motor skills development through regular and specifically tailored exercises.
What Might Paediatric Physiotherapy Look Like?
Because each child is different, so too are physiotherapy sessions, but there are a few common routes a physiotherapist may take. If you’re wondering what to expect from therapy, the following might be suggested:
- Physical exercises to encourage balance and improve muscle strength and control
- Obstacle courses and exercises to increase mobility
- Specific tasks which help children grasp, lift and move objects to improve hand-eye coordination and motor skills
- Mirror imaging to increase spatial awareness and controlled movements
- Exercises which stretch, tone or lengthen muscles to improve the range of movement
- Hydrotherapy to relax stiff muscles, lessen the impact on the joints and increase mobility in water
- Exercises and repetition to demonstrate tongue placement in speech and language therapy for developmental delays in speech or lisps and pronunciation difficulties – SALT (Speech and Language Therapy)
- Diagnosis, advice and demonstrations on how to use supportive devices such as wheelchairs or orthotic devices
Paediatric Physiotherapy can help a child reach their full potential through a detailed analysis of their development, tailored exercises and lots of support and encouragement. It is also an advised route for children who undergo surgery, as pre and post-surgery appointments can speed recovery and healing. Paediatric physiotherapists are also trained to help improve the quality of life of children with disabilities, helping them gain confidence and independence and stay as healthy and active as possible.
We understand that children like familiarity and it can be difficult to fit physiotherapy sessions into their busy schedules! That’s why we bring our expert physiotherapists and all necessary equipment to you to complete the sessions at home, where the children feel most comfortable! Don’t hesitate to find out more by exploring our website or giving us a call on 02078 840 374.