If your child requires pediatric physical therapy or pediatric occupational therapy, you likely have a lot of questions.
You may be wondering how pediatric physical or occupational therapy will improve your child’s quality of life.
Or perhaps you want to know more about the use of therapeutic aids, such as wheelchairs or orthotics.
We’re Little Feet Therapy, and you’ve come to the right place. Below is a list of frequently asked questions about pediatric physical and occupational therapy.
Don’t see your question listed? No problem. Feel free to reach out – we’re happy to help.
General Pediatric Therapy Questions
These are questions about our approach in general, that don’t specifically pertain to physical or occupational therapy.
A pediatric evaluation lasts between 45 minutes and an hour.
During a pediatric evaluation, your child’s therapist will talk with you, your child, and any other professionals that might be appropriate, like your child’s pediatrician, teacher, or other therapists.
They will also offer a standardized test to get an understanding of your child’s current capabilities and how they compare to the expected milestones.
From there, your child’s therapist will have a better understanding of the type of pediatric therapy they’ll need.
Each treatment session after your child’s initial evaluation is between 30 and 60 minutes.
The answer to this is different for every child. Even children with the same diagnoses will proceed at different rates, so it’s impossible to say with certainty how many sessions you’ll need.
However, your pediatric therapist will let you know what to expect for both the length of time for each session, and the estimated number of sessions required.
Pediatric Physical Therapy Frequently Asked Questions
Physical therapy focuses on the improvement of motion, strength, flexibility, and movement in order to help your child gain independence.
Let’s take a look at some frequently asked questions about pediatric physical therapy.
If you are trying to determine whether your child needs physical therapy, keep an eye out for the following issues:
- Moving only by scooting on their bottom
- Aversion to tummy time
- Clicking or popping in their hips
- Asymmetrical movements, including head movements
- Development of flat spots on their head
- Toe walking
- Developmental delays
- Poor balance and frequent falls
Pediatric physical therapy can provide solutions for several conditions and disorders.
Some conditions that physical therapists commonly work with include:
- Hypotonia (low muscle tone)
- Atypical walking patterns
- Autism spectrum disorder
- Down Syndrome
- Cerebral palsy
- Concussion recovery
- Developmental delays
- Spina Bifida
- Poor gross motor coordination
And many others
Unless your child has been diagnosed with a condition that requires use of a walker, long term use is not recommended.
Walkers can change the way that your child uses their muscles.
Subsequently, long term use of walkers or similar equipment may increase your child’s risk of developing muscle imbalances as well as gross motor skills delays.
The use of walkers should be limited to no more than 30 minutes per day.
Many children demonstrate some degree of toe walking; however, most will grow out of it with time, , but if they are over 2 years old, it might be a cause for concern.
Children who persistently toe walk (more than 25% of the time) may have an underlying condition, such as cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, or autism spectrum disorder. There may also not be a medical diagnosis, but prolonged toe walking can put a child at risk for injury if not addressed.
If your child’s toe walking requires intervention, a physical therapist can help through treatment strategies such as:
- Sensory input
- Shoe modifications
- Body awareness activities
- Hip and abdominal strengthening
Every child is different.
Therefore, every child will develop milestones on their own time.
However, there are general guidelines that highlight the approximate age your child should reach certain milestones.
- By 4 to 5 months, your child should begin to roll.
- By 6 to 7 months, your child should begin to sit up.
- By 9 to 12 months, your child should begin to crawl.
- By 12 to 18 months, your child should begin to walk.
- By 24 months, your child should jump with two feet and catch and throw a ball.
- By 3 years old, your child should walk up and downstairs independently.
- By 4 years old, your child should be able to hop on one foot, gallop, and skip.
- By 5 years old, your child should be able to jump rope, hopscotch, and ride a bike.
Pediatric Occupational Therapy Frequently Asked Questions
A pediatric occupational therapist works with your child to improve their ability to perform their activities of daily living (ADL).
Let’s take a look at some frequently asked questions about pediatric occupational therapy.
Activities of daily living, or ADL for short, are the everyday tasks that we do to maintain ourselves.
Examples of activities of daily living include:
- Brushing hair and teeth
- Social participation
- Getting dressed
- Going the washroom
- Other general self care skills
- Learning skills at school
- Doing activities at home, such as chores or cooking
For most people, activities of daily living come naturally.
However, numerous conditions, such as developmental delays, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism spectrum disorder, and others can make it more difficult for children to complete activities of daily living.
Sensory processing refers to the process in which information about the world gets processed by your brain.
During this process, your body sends sensory information, such as touch, feel, or smell, to your brain, which in turn instructs your body how to react.
This process is unconscious, but essential for the completion of daily tasks and routines.
In children with sensory processing disorder (SPD), this process becomes disrupted and results in your child having inappropriate responses to the things that they hear, taste, see, smell, or feel.
For example, a child with sensory processing disorder may dislike eating certain foods due to the texture.
There are a number of occupational therapy treatments for sensory processing disorder, including therapeutic listening and sensory integration therapy.
Motor coordination refers to your ability to make simple and complex movements with body in order to complete a goal.
Children who struggle with their fine motor coordination may have difficulty performing tasks such as:
- Handwriting and academic skills
- Participation in activities of daily living
- Moving and using objects in their hand
- Paying attention
- Following structured routines
Executive function refers the process and skills required to participate in the activities of daily living.
Executive function skills include:
- Time management
- Problem solving
- Self control
- Mental flexibility
Children who struggle with executive functioning may display difficulty with:
- Task initiation
- Paying attention
- Following complex directions
- Staying organized
- Planning ahead
An occupational therapist can help your child improve these areas in order to achieve as much independence as possible.
Children learn how to dress themselves over the span of a multiple years.
- By 1 year old, your child should be able to independently remove their shoes and socks, as well as push their limbs through clothing.
- By 2 years old, your child should be able to help pull their pants down, as well as untie their shoes.
- By 3 years old, your child should be able to put on their own shirt with or without help, pull down their pants, attempt to put on their shoes and socks, and begin to learn how to use zippers.
- By 4 years old, your child should be able to independently take off their shirt, as well as zip up their jackets.
- By 5 years old, your child should be able to dress with little to no help.
- By 6 years old, your child should be able to tie their shoes.
- If they struggle with these, it may be a sign of a developmental issue occupational therapy can help with.
Book Your Appointment With Little Feet Therapy Today
If you have more questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.
At Little Feet Therapy, we have a passion for helping your child reach their fullest potential.
Book your appointment with Little Feet Therapy today.