What is pediatric physiotherapy?

Pediatric physiotherapy is defined as a branch of health, specifically of kinesiology and physiotherapy, in charge of children. It is dedicated to advise, treat and care for pediatric patients with developmental delays or movement disorders.

The definition can be broader, as we will see later, since other diseases linked to kinesiological work can also benefit from it. Inclusive also the area of ​​early stimulation receives contributions from pediatric physiotherapy.

To name it there are different synonyms, which contributes to the confusion. However, it is not incorrect to speak of infantil child kinesiology ’or‘ child physical therapy ’. In short, we are referring to the same professionals and the same area of ​​health.

Since its inception, although recent, the bulk of their attention is directed at children with motor development problems that have the starting point in neurological pathologies. We can name, for example, cerebral palsy or congenital torticollis.

Secondly of importance and volume of patients, we have the traumatological pathologies, such as scoliosis or foot deformations. They are closely followed by respiratory diseases, such as asthma and cystic fibrosis.

A broader definition of the area of ​​action of pediatric physiotherapy suggests that any disease that limits the relationship between the environment and the child is treatable. This opens a range of opportunities for discipline, as it goes beyond the classical limits of the pathological to cover other aspects of existence.

For each area of ​​action Pediatric physiotherapy proposes different approaches:

  • Neuromotor stimulation.
  • Respiratory physiotherapy.
  • Psychomotor.
  • Postural treatment.
  • Functional bandage

Beneficiaries of pediatric physiotherapy

As a pediatric health discipline, This physiotherapy is aimed at children. Here we can group the receivers into three distinct groups:

  • Children and adolescents with diverse pathologies that generate development and motor consequences, with diverse origins:
    1. Neurological: spina bifida, cerebral palsy.
    2. Respiratory: asthma, cystic fibrosis, bronchiolitis.
    3. Skeletal muscle: congenital dislocation of the hips, plagiocephaly, achondroplasia.
    4. Genetic: Down syndrome, Wolf syndrome.
    5. Neuromuscular: Duchenne dystrophy, spinal muscular atrophy.

Various pediatric pathologies benefit from pediatric physiotherapy

Keep discovering: Cerebral Palsy: what it is

Functions of the pediatric physiotherapist

It should be understood that pediatric physiotherapy it is not the application of traditional adult kinesiology in a smaller body. The child physiotherapist must be specialized in that age to be able to provide their service correctly.

The professional will usually perform an initial assessment of the child or adolescent to evaluate it. It will establish the motor, cognitive, sensory and environmental scopes of the patient to know the reality of the person in the context in which he lives and develops.

Once the evaluation is established, the professional will trace the objectives of a possible treatment. The objectives are usually agreed between the physiotherapist and the family, in addition to the attending physician, who is usually the one who requested the practice.

Based on the objectives, a work plan will be established. The professional training will allow you to choose the most appropriate techniques for each patient, always with the combination of the game. The playful aspect is a fundamental pillar of pediatric physiotherapy.

Once the treatment itself is underway, in successive sessions, coordination between family and professional is vital. That is why there is talk of direct interventions, when they are performed by the physiotherapist, and indirect interventions, when it is the family who executes them.

There are different techniques of child physiotherapy that the professional will select for each case

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The role of the family

The child's family in the treatment of pediatric physiotherapy is another component of the approach. This discipline is not understood without the active participation of adults They spend most of their time with the patient.

It is necessary to understand that the professional only meets the child or the adolescent during the sessions, but the rest of the time is spent with the adults who constitute his family. It's like that part of the success of the treatments depend on the persistence and involvement of the parents.

After the direct interventions of the physiotherapist on the patient, indirect interventions are continued, which are those performed by family members at home. These, advised by the professional, they continue with the work plan.

The same discipline suggests that the family be the protagonist. More important is that role in the first years of life, where early stimulation will sow the seeds for future development, until adulthood.

It is essential, then, that the communication and understanding between the physiotherapist and the parents be fluid. Both parties must agree and comfortable. In short, the greatest good they pursue resides in the child that must be treated.