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Children are not mini-adults! So what does a Paediatric Physiotherapist do?

Nearly everyone is familiar with Physios and aware that they can help with aches and pains, sore backs and necks as well as sports injuries. So how is a Paediatric Physio different? Do kids need Physio? How old are these kids? What do you do with them? These are just some of the commonly asked questions I get on a regular basis. Believe it or not – most of these questions are from kids as well!

Children are not just mini-adults – they move, they think, they feel and are built differently; therefore, they often benefit from seeing a therapist who is specifically trained and experience in working with children. Paediatric physiotherapists have additional training in how children develop, specifically how they develop their movement.

Movement is a crucial part of how a baby develops. From their first reflexive movements to their first intentional movement; how these integrate as an infant develops is integral to the way that they first learn to explore their bodies and then later their parents and their environment.

Paediatric Physiotherapists are trained to assess, identify and manage movement difficulties that are specific to children. They work with everyone that is involved in the child’s life including parents, teachers and coaches to address how these movement difficulties impact on a child’s life every day. Not only do they know how to specifically address these issues for children, Paediatric Physios are experts in having fun!

There is a large range of movement difficulties that a Paediatric Physiotherapist can help with however some of these include:

  • Babies who have flat spots on their heads or a head-direction preference,
  • Babies who have difficulties moving their legs, feet or hips,
  • Babies who are slower to achieve their motor milestones such as sitting, crawling or walking,
  • Babies who are using funny movement patterns to move around including bottom-shuffling or toe-walking,
  • Everyday movement skills such as jumping, hopping or ball skills,
  • Toddlers or older children who are clumsy or uncoordinated,
  • Children with diagnosed disabilities such as Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, Autism, Spinal Bifida, Muscular Dystrophies and other congenital syndromes,
  • Children who have injuries associated with growth such as knee pain and ankle pain as well as
  • Children who rheumatological conditions or pain affecting their bones, joints or muscles such as Ehler’s Danlos Syndrome or Arthritis.

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