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What is Pediatric Physical Therapy?


Pediatric physical therapists work with children and their families to assist each child in reaching their maximum potential to function independently and to promote active participation in home, school, and community environments.  Pediatric physical therapy helps children learn to successfully and independently perform gross motor skills (running, jumping, hopping) and functional mobility skills (sitting, walking, stair climbing).


A pediatric physical therapist may work with a child who has a specific health impairment/disease, poor coordination, decreased muscle strength, muscle tone, or flexibility, delayed achievement of motor milestones, or following an injury by working on:

  • Strength

  • Endurance

  • Balance

  • Coordination

  • Stretching

  • Therapeutic exercise

  • Gait training

  • Motor planning

  • Motor/postural control

  • Body/spatial awareness

  • Gross motor skills (e.g. sitting, crawling, standing, walking, running, stair climbing, jumping, skipping, ball skills etc.)

  • Assessment for need of adaptive equipment (wheel chair, walker) or orthotics

  • Mobility Training


How do I know if my child needs physical therapy?

  • They are not meeting the expected developmental milestones during the first year of life (ie. rolling, sitting, standing, walking)

  • They have a strong preference for turning their head to one side or using one side of their body

  • They walk up on the balls of their feet or walk in an atypical/awkward manner

  • They have difficulty keeping up with their peers during play

  • They are not able to perform the same gross motor tasks (ie. hopping, jumping, skipping) as their peers

  • They frequently trip and fall when walking

  • They complain of pain when performing gross motor tasks

  • They were injured and are not able to perform at their prior level of function



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