Paediatric Physiotherapy is the treatment and care of babies, children and young people from birth through teenage years. My focus is centred around development, constipation, continence (leakage), bed wetting and sport. There are many reasons kids attend physiotherapy for example: gait issues, growing pains, postural issues (scoliosis), arthritis, continence issues (constipation, leakage, bed wetting), developmental issues, concussion and sport injury.
I work with young clients whose issues range from incontinence, to torticollis/plagiocephaly to motor/development difficulties and concussion. For example, a child might work towards improving motor control/developmental milestones by doing core strengthening, balance training, or yoga, for example, that can build strength, endurance and body awareness.
Continence issues are very common: constipation, bed wetting and leaking while playing sport being the most prevalent. Of the many reasons why these issues can emerge, assessment and what treatment is appropriate taking into context the patient’s history of development, diet, injury, sport involvement etc. Pelvic floor and core function are assessed with an ultrasound machine, as internal exams are not done on kids. I work closely with a pediatrician; therefore, if needed, referral is recommended to address possible medical concerns.
For an infant with torticollis/plagiocephaly (neck tightness and head shape challenges), the parents and child will meet with the therapist to work on stretching and positioning exercises. The parents can learn how to position the child for day-to-day activities, such as sitting in a car seat and sleeping. A child learning to walk can be taken through exercises to encourage standing and develop the skills required for walking. Parents will be given a home program to facilitate working on these skills at home.
We use many different ways to help children and youth with these skills, including:
- Home exercise programs.
- Parent education.
- Recommendations for play or recreational activities.
- Participation in specific group or individual sessions.
- Sometimes specialized equipment is recommended.
The treatment or suggestions provided will depend on some of the following:
- Your child’s skills or difficulties related to movement
- Your hopes related to your child’s movement, and any specific requests from your child if they are able to express their desires
- Your child’s muscular strength, range of motion, muscle tone and other physical findings
- Your child’s developmental level
- Whether your child attends school, preschool, recreational activities or other programs
- The potential benefit of any specialized equipment for your child