Paediatric physiotherapists work with babies, children and young people to develop their gross motor skills (such as walking, jumping etc.), aiming to promote independence and to help children and young people to participate and enjoy life.
A Physiotherapist has an understanding of:
- child development
- normal and abnormal movement patterns
- how movement skills develop
- childhood diseases and conditions that may impact on development and well being
- therapeutic interventions that enable and optimise development and well being
- the need to place the child or young person at the centre of planning
- how to keep children and young people safe
- how to ensure that children and young people make choices
Paediatric physiotherapists work closely with each child or young person and their family, education, social care and other health care professionals. There is a shared responsibility for meeting children and young people’s needs.
Physiotherapists work in hospitals, clinics, nurseries, schools, family homes and any other locations depending on the needs of the child or young person.
Any Physiotherapy advice or treatment is based on an assessment of the child’s needs.
Assessment may include:
- strength and co-ordination
- motor development
- posture and balance
- quality of movement
Following assessment any interventions advised will be fully discussed with the child and their family and therapy goals will be agreed jointly. Families are expected to be fully involved with delivering physiotherapy care for their child where on-going physiotherapy input is needed
Possible ways of supporting the child may include one or more of the following:
- provision of training and advice for parents/carers and other service providers (health, social care, education)
- advice regarding ways of supporting the child in different environments and by different people
- assessment for specialist equipment and/or appliances
- involvement with educational and transition planning
- direct therapy with the child individually or in a group
Paediatric physiotherapists may be involved with a wide range of conditions including:
- Neuromuscular disorders e.g. muscular dystrophies
- Neurological conditions e.g. cerebral palsy, head injuries
- Respiratory conditions e.g. cystic fibrosis
- Rheumatological conditions e.g. juvenile idiopathic arthritis
- Congenital disorders e.g. spina bifida, limb deficiencies
- Orthopaedic and musculoskeletal conditions.
- Delayed movement development.
- Conditions where mobility is affected e.g. oncology
- Congenital syndromes.
Please see our 'How to refer' section for details. You will need a clinic letter / report to accompany your referral.