Open Accessibility Menu

Get Answers to Pediatric Physical Therapy Questions

Published in Pediatrics, Rehabilitation Services, For the Health of It Author: CentraCare Pediatric Rehabilitation

Many people think you would only need physical therapists if you need to rehabilitate from an injury, but they do so much more. October is National Physical Therapy Month and the amazing team of pediatric physical therapists at CentraCare Rehabilitation gives you an insight into the work they do with patients and their families.

What is Pediatric Physical Therapy?
Pediatric Physical Therapists (PT) and Physical Therapist Assistants (PTA) provide assessment and treatment to a range of pediatric patients between the ages of newborn to 21 with a wide variety of conditions that impact physical abilities.

Why would a child need physical therapy?
Pediatric PTs and PTAs evaluate and treat a wide range of conditions including cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, spina bifida, gross motor delay, toe walking, torticollis and head shape concerns, just to name a few.

What is the difference between a PT and PTA?
Physical therapists are responsible for evaluation, treatment and goal planning and supervision of the PTA. Physical therapist assistants carry out the treatment plan established by the PT. PTs and PTAs work closely together to achieve the best patient outcomes.

Do only children who have broken bones see a pediatric PT?
No! While it does occur, this is actually a small population of what a PT/PTA may evaluate and treat in a pediatric setting.

What is the difference between PT & OT?
The fields of occupational and physical therapy are often confused and can differ among settings. Occupational therapists (OT) focus on improving activities of daily living such as grooming/hygiene, feeding or dressing. In addition, OTs assist with development of fine motor skills such as handwriting/grip, buttoning, shoe tying and dexterity. OTs also play a large role in self calming and regulation in order to function in day to day activities.

How are Pediatric Physical Therapists licensed?
PTs and PTAs are required to graduate from an accredited program and pass a National Physical Therapy Examination in order to obtain licensure in their respective state of practice.

What’s the best part of your job?
The best part of being a PT/PTA is seeing the reactions of kids and their parents when they succeed! In addition, pediatric patients may receive care on and off throughout many years, allowing their therapists to see them and their families grow.

What is a typical day like for a Pediatric Physical Therapist?
A typical day for a PT may include evaluation, re-evaluation or treatment of a variety of patients. A PTAs typical day may consist of treatment both on land or in an aquatic setting, again with a variety of patients. Similar to other medical professionals, PTs and PTAs are required to complete documentation regarding the services provided. When not with patients, PTs and PTAs can be found updating and developing home programs, completing required continuing education, snacking on candy and cookies and cleaning toys.