Patient girl plays with toys at rehab appointment

When disease or injury impairs your child’s ability to move and function physically, pediatric physical therapy can help preserve, enhance or restore movement and range of motion.

What do pediatric physical therapists do at Children’s?

At Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, your child’s pediatric physical therapist will take a health history and perform tests to assess his 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.

Physical therapists use a variety of methods during pediatric physical therapy, including:

  • Strengthening, stretching and aerobic exercise
  • Heat, ice, ultrasound and electrical stimulation
  • Serial casting
  • Taping
  • Joint mobilization
  • Developmental activities

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 from home.

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

Our pediatric physical therapists provide care and assistance for the following conditions and injuries:

At Children’s, our team of pediatric physical therapists offer a variety of specialty services to help make sure your child receives the best care possible while recovering from an illness or injury, including:

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, as well as helping your child improve mobility, coordination, strength, endurance, balance and self-confidence.

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

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

Therapy is different for every child and depends on the child’s physical ability and needs. To help make sure 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:

  • Sitting independently. 
  • Crawling.
  • Walking to the bus stop with a backpack without assistance.
  • Climbing stairs.

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.