Physiotherapy FAQs

What does a physiotherapist do for a child?

A physiotherapist has a crucial role in helping children with various physical challenges and conditions to improve their mobility, function, and overall quality of life. We focus on global strengths and weaknesses and aim to further improve your child’s everyday functional skills.

At S + C, we listen and work with you and your child to determine SMART goals (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and +/- time bound) that are meaningful to you and your child. We aim to do this in a way that is fun and set apart from the usual mundane exercises we often get as adults!

What treatments do we provide?

Here are some of the things a physiotherapist at Strong and Courageous can do for a child:

1) Assessment: Physiotherapists begin by assessing your child’s physical abilities, use of mobility aids if required, strength, flexibility, alignment, and movement patterns. They may also consider; medical history, previous/current therapies, previous/current goals, challenges and recent achievements, developmental milestones and motivators for movement to establish the child’s engagement.

2) Treatment Planning: After the assessment, the physiotherapist develops an individualised treatment plan tailored to your child’s specific needs and goals. This plan may involve short-term and long-term goals for improving mobility and function. At S + C, we also focus on the principles of neuroplasticity, particularly the repetition and intensity components in order to improve neuromuscular pathways.

3) Physical Exercises: Physiotherapists prescribe exercises designed to address the goal areas established by the family and child. We also identify areas that could benefit from a focussed exercise program e.g. muscle strength, flexibility, balance, power, agility as well as motor planning/coordination in order to help achieve said goals. These exercises may be performed in a clinic setting or as part of a home exercise program.

4) Gait Training: Physiotherapists can work on gait (walking) training. This involves a biomechanical approach and includes encouraging appropriate walking mechanics (or close to) and addressing any issues related to balance and coordination. We can address this a number of ways at our clinic including through treadmill gait training, on different terrains, using walking aids and within a spider cage (a body suspension system).

5) Assistive Technology and Mobility Aids: Physiotherapists may recommend to organise equipment trials, and provide guidance on the use of some assistive technologies and mobility aids. Some areas we can assist with include: standing frames, walkers, wheelchairs, quad sticks, seating positions/options and bikes/trikes as well as body orthoses to enhance a child’s independence and mobility.

6) Pain Management: If a child experiences pain or discomfort due to a physical condition or injury, a physiotherapist can employ techniques like manual therapy (e.g. soft tissue massage or remedial massage), taping/strapping, bracing, hot/cold therapy, or hydrotherapy as well as other advice on rest vs exercise and management.

7) Neurological Conditions: Physios can guide and advise on treatment for improving motor skills and functional ability or improving/managing muscle tone (both low: hypotonia, and high tone: hypertonia). For children with neurological conditions like cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, or developmental delays, physiotherapists focus on improving

8) Developmental Delays: Physiotherapists work to enhance developmental milestones. These may include: different lying positions, tummy time, rolling, sitting, crawling, standing, walking, running, jumping, galloping, skipping, kicking and throwing etc.

9) Education and Family Support: Physiotherapists can provide education and support to the child’s caregivers. We provide information on: exercises we may use in the clinic and home exercise programs that are safe, manual handling, transfers, guidance on physical aids/assistive tech and we also offer guidance on adapting the child’s environment to promote mobility and safety.

10) Monitoring Progress: Throughout our sessions with your child, we continually assess their progress, adjust treatments as required, and communicate with our colleagues to establish an individualistic, progressive and holistic program.

11) Writing Reports: NDIS requires letters or reports in order to access, review or increase funding. You may require new pieces of equipment, specialised disability assistive technology, increased funding, have a change in circumstance, or require more support worker hours etc. We can assist you with this by means of reports. Our Exercise Physiologist, Occupational Therapist or Physio may help you with this.

12) Celebrating your achievements! We love to celebrate your child’s achievements. Every achievement is big to us and deserves some positive cheerleading reinforcement!

Is physio good for babies?

In short, yes!

Physiotherapy can be beneficial for babies, particularly when they have specific developmental or health concerns. Paediatric physiotherapy focuses on assessing and addressing the physical needs of infants and young children.

If you have concerns about your baby’s physical development or health, it’s advisable to consult with a healthcare professional, such as a pediatrician, who can assess the situation and refer you to a physiotherapist if necessary. It has been proven that age matters in terms of intervention. We know that younger brains adapt and change more easily so early intervention and appropriate physiotherapy can be instrumental in addressing physical challenges and promoting healthy development.

When can physical therapy help a child?

As young/early as possible is best, following the principles of neuroplasticity.

How quickly does physiotherapy work?

This is variable on a number of factors just like any interventions. So far from our experiences we have seen improvements throughout each intensive therapy program. Even children who have experienced regressions due to a number of reasons (illness, seizures etc) have still shown progressions from pre to post intensive block.

Does my child need physio?

If you believe your child has developmental delays or other signs/symptoms you are curious or worried about, please involve a paediatrician and seek appropriate intervention e.g. physiotherapy as soon as possible.

What happens when you first go to physio?

We will ask you to fill out an initial intake form prior to seeing us(this is to guide questioning, reduce repeat questions, and establish a clearer discussion when we see you in person).

In person we continue this discussion, talk and listen to you and your child, gather more information if required, assess your child, begin treatment planning and then implement a therapeutic exercise program which can evolve over time.

Why would a child see a physiotherapist?

If your child is experiencing any mobility issues, developmental delays or you are concerned about their movements in comparison to their peers. Please see us!

Who needs pediatric physiotherapy?

We believe everyone benefits! However, those most in need include children with; developmental delays, physical/ medical conditions, neurological conditions, hyper or hypomobility, kids who experience multiple injuries frequently, those with a traumatic birth or those born prematurely.

Is it too late to start physical therapy?

It’s never too late to start physical therapy!

How many times a week should you go to physiotherapy?

This should be a discussion with you and your therapist. It varies from client to client depending on goals, timelines, significance of delays, funding (though please speak to the therapist if limited funding is an issue- we may be able to write a report to help!), ability or capacity to spend time on therapy/ exercises at home etc.

Our model is intensive therapy so it works on an intensive format where children see us anywhere from 1-5 hrs per day in which a number of therapies or therapy types may be performed (e.g. OT, Exercise Physiology, Physio, Hydrotherapy, spider cage, clinical pilates) for 1-3 weeks at a time. This may occur multiple times a year as well as the child seeing a weekly/fortnightly physio.

What is the difference between physiotherapy and exercise physiology?

Clinical Exercise Physiologists and Physiotherapists are both allied health professionals with a strong background in exercise science, physiology and rehabilitation and focus on improving individual wellbeing and quality of life.

Physiotherapists are trained to diagnose and treat a broad spectrum of physical conditions, injuries and disabilities using a variety of techniques such as manual therapy and exercise programs.

Exercise Physiologists are trained to assess, design and implement safe and effective exercise programs for various medical conditions, chronic disease or disability.

What is exercise physiology?

Exercise physiology is the study of how the body responds and adapts to physical activity and exercise. It explores the physiological processes, mechanisms, and changes that occur within the body during exercise.

Exercise physiology plays a crucial role in understanding how physical activity affects the human body and is used to design safe and effective exercise programs for various purposes, including improving fitness, increasing independence, and promoting overall health.

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