What is Physical Therapy (PT)?

A physical therapist works to improve your child’s gross motor development.  Gross motor means large movement, such as rolling, crawling, standing, walking, running, and playing on a playground.  Physical therapy deals with mobility, which is how your child moves from one place to another, or how your child reaches to obtain an object.

A physical therapist facilitates your child to move.  In order to achieve movement, the therapist will evaluate your child’s strength, joint range of motion, muscle tone, balance reactions, gait (how your child walks), skeletal integrity, skin integrity, endurance, gross motor milestones and active movement.  The therapist, along with your input, will develop goals for your child and a plan of how to achieve these goals.  Therapy sessions are typically geared towards functional activities, which for children is typically play, to achieve the established goals.  Physical therapists will sometimes use big therapy balls, bolsters, wedges, bicycles, treadmills, swimming pools, playground equipment, and other equipment to facilitate movement.  A physical therapist is also very involved with adaptative equipment such as splints, braces, seating devices, car seats, strollers, and wheelchairs.

The web site for the American Physical Therapy Association can be found at www.apta.org.