Physical Therapy

When disease or injury impairs your child’s ability to move and function physically, physical therapy can help preserve, enhance or restore movement and range of motion. Physical therapists use a variety of methods, including:

  • Strengthening, stretching and aerobic exercise
  • Heat, ice and ultrasound
  • Electrical stimulation
  • Traction
  • Taping
  • Joint mobilization
  • Phonophoresis/iontophoresis—technologies that deliver medicines to tissues beneath the skin

At Children’s, our approach focuses on mutually agreed-upon goals of the child, parents and physical therapy team. This collaborative effort allows our physical therapists to help children and young adults achieve optimal independence and adequate functioning at home and away.

Our physical therapists provide care and assistance for conditions such as:

  • Burns
  • Developmental delays
  • Diabetes
  • Genetic disorders
  • Neuromuscular conditions
  • Orthopaedic disorders
  • Sports injuries
  • Decreased mobility
  • High-risk neonatal risk factors

Your child’s physical therapist will take a health history and perform tests to assess your child’s range of motion, muscle strength, tone and stiffness, motor skills and gait. The therapist will also determine whether there’s a need for specialized equipment.

Children’s physical therapy services are available at all three of our outpatient locations. In addition to outpatient care, our therapists also provide inpatient rehabilitation.

Learn more about inpatient rehabilitation

Aquatic Therapy

Aquatic therapy offers an alternative environment for occupational and physical therapy that provides gentle resistance and buoyancy, making movement more comfortable. The warm-water environment relaxes muscles and reduces pain.

The Aquatic Therapy Program at Children’s is designed to make therapy fun. Our therapists incorporate water games and activities in individual and group settings. Aquatic therapy can help your child improve mobility, coordination, strength, endurance, balance and self-confidence.

Aquatic therapy allows patients to:

  • Move independently more easily, with less pain
  • Assume an upright posture earlier
  • Improve motor skills
  • Slow down movement to accommodate balance difficulties
  • Perform activities safely at a greater resistance than on land
  • Be less hypersensitive to touch
  • Increase motivation and self-confidence

Children’s aquatic therapy services are available at Scottish Rite hospital and at the Robert D. Fowler YMCA in Gwinnett County.

Motion Analysis

Through a partnership with Emory University’s Division of Physical Therapy, we provide motion analysis for children and teens with movement difficulties. Our specialists use advanced computer and video technology to identify and evaluate muscle activity and movement that’s difficult to see with the naked eye. The medical team uses this information to design a treatment plan.

Motion analysis can be used for a variety of conditions, including:

  • Brain injury
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Complex movement disorders
  • Spina bifida
  • Toe walking

We take video of the patient walking to evaluate the smoothness of his movement. The lab's care team will look at several things, including:

  • Range of motion
  • Strength
  • Level of spasticity
  • Motor control

Our lab is located at Emory University’s Center for Rehabilitative Medicine, next to Egleston hospital, at 1141 Clifton Road, Atlanta, GA 30322.

Task-Oriented Strengthening Therapy

Pediatric occupational and physical therapists provide task-oriented strengthening for children with a condition or injury that affects their ability to perform daily tasks. Therapy consists of exercises that help train the brain and teach the child how to perform his task.

Therapy is different for every child and depends on his physical ability and needs. To ensure we meet the needs of you and your child, we conduct a caregiver consultation and therapist assessment to identify goals and design a therapy program.

Examples of realistic goals might be:

  • Carrying a cup without spilling
  • Walking to the bus stop with a backpack without assistance
  • Climbing stairs
  • Tying shoe laces

For more information, call Durga Shah at 404-785-3758.

Vestibular Rehabilitation

Pediatric audiologists and therapists at Children’s also provide vestibular rehabilitation services, including comprehensive evaluation and treatment, to identify and relieve symptoms of ear-related balance problems.

Learn more about vestibular rehabilitation