The Pediatric physical therapists at F.I.T. Muscle & Joint Clinic are highly trained in understanding your child’s growth and developmental stages therefore equipping them with the ability to not only recognize any delays, but also provide assistance in improving function. Research has shown that a “wait and see” approach is no longer an effective method when it comes to growth and development and that children often benefit from intervention, including physical therapy, sooner rather than later.
Pediatric Physical Therapy in Kansas City
Pediatric Physical Therapy
Physical therapy looks a little different when interacting directly with children, however, the end goal is always the same, to maximize function and improve overall health. Pediatric physical therapy in Kansas City combines purposeful play with several other treatment methods to assist children in developing the independence, confidence, and functional movement they need to participate in all aspects of life. Participating in physical therapy can’t always be only fun and games, but the more it can be disguised as an activity they prefer, the more likely the child is to continue to work and progress.
Children participate in physical therapy for a variety of reasons including general development, wellness screens, return to sport, or for more involved reasons due to neurological or genetic conditions. Kids are often highly adaptable and do not necessarily view their inability as a disability and will develop compensations to achieve their goal. Physical therapy meets them at their level and uses their current ability to assist them in developing more functional movement patterns so that they can have increased success throughout life and decreased risk of future complications and pain.
What it Treats
Pediatric Physical Therapy in Kansas City involves working with children ages birth to 18 years old with the following concerns:
- Genetic conditions
Delays in development
Coordination and motor planning
Sports and non-sports related injuries
Wellness screens and parent education
Assistive device/equipment use and management
How Pediatric Physical Therapy Works
Pediatric physical therapy focuses on assisting your child in developing appropriate gross motor skills in order to improve overall function and ability. Participating in therapy can be challenging for a lot of children, but combined with our hands on manual techniques and use of Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization, our doctor’s create a playful environment designed to address a wide variety of deficits in strength, endurance, balance and stability, general development, coordination, and motor planning that may be limiting your child. Your child may only work with the therapist a few times per week, whereas you are providing care to them during all other times. That being said, combined with the exercises conducted during a session which are meant to further progress and challenge your child’s abilities, the doctor will work with you to create a home exercise program. Have no fear though, we know that life is busy, and our goal is to incorporate these exercises into the everyday routine to further enhance your child’s functional mobility, instead of adding another obligation to the list.
A pediatric physical therapist doesn’t simply treat a child as a “small adult,” because that creates the notion that children and adults’ treatments can be the same. We understand the complexities of childhood growth and development and cater our practices to that knowledge. No two children will get the same care, even if they have the same diagnosis. Based on a patient’s unique deficiencies, family home life, and activity levels, pediatric physical therapists utilize treatments that will maximize a child’s ability to move independently.
It is important to note that a child’s joints and muscles are a lot different than fully developed adult joints and muscles. Specifically with bones, children still have growth plates, which are also known as epiphyseal plates. Growth plates are the areas of growing tissue at the ends of the long bones in the arms and legs. They determine the development of a child along with the length and future shape of the bone. Once a child finishes growing, the growth plates close and become solid bone.
However, while those growth plates are still open and the child is actively growing, it is important for a physical therapist to understand their importance, especially since they can be the weakest parts of the joints. Injuries to growth plates, such as fractures, can be detrimental to a child’s future development. That is why our pediatric physical therapist at F.I.T. will ensure the treatment plan helps progress a child while creating movement habits that protect growth plates.
Throughout our pediatric physical therapy sessions, you can also expect your child to be continuously challenged and stimulated. This allows us to not only maintain a child’s focus, but also gives us the opportunity to safely push them toward better physical health. Without a focus on engagement and entertainment, a child can easily become distracted, which may prolong learning and recovery.
As a parent or guardian, it is vital to take the lessons learned during physical therapy and implement them at home. During your sessions, we will give you more specific instructions on how to continue promoting progress even while your child is away from the clinic. This may include adding special toys for playtime, going on daily walks, assisting with at-home stretches and basic exercises, and more. The goal is to help your child form habits that compliment what we do in the clinic to boost improvement levels with each session. That said, the home program and/or exercises we recommend are home oriented, meaning they are often easily implemented into daily life rather than being an extra task.
We want everyone involved to understand that physical therapy for children isn’t a one-and-done practice. Reaching goals often takes time, so it’s important to stay patient with your child throughout the process.
Pediatric Physical Therapy at F.I.T.
Our main goal is to improve gross motor skills in children of all ages. Because of this, we don’t simply focus on treating the diagnosis, we also focus on longevity and future injury prevention. Motor skills require the help of large muscle groups, and our physical therapists strive to strengthen those muscles and improve stability. This can help a child walk, run, play, and perform better in all aspects of life.
With our wide variety of treatment options and tools, we can treat genetic and neurological conditions that affect movement, developmental delays, and sports-related injuries. We also focus on parent education so that everyone feels comfortable and in-the-know each step of the way. For us, pediatric physical therapy is a collaborative effort between children, parents, physicians, and physical therapists.
Our physical therapists carry the mentality that parents or caretakers should be involved in every aspect of their child’s care and will work directly with them. When working with our families, we aim to develop a well rounded support system in order to more effectively guide, improve, and restore your child’s function and mobility to the best it can be during every encounter.
We pride ourselves on incorporating one-on-one care and are dedicated to understanding each child. That includes knowing what they do on a daily basis, the sports or activities they are a part of, how their physical abilities affect them, parent goals, and so much more. In order to understand our patients, we never rush through a process, because our goals are your goals. We want to make sure your child is happy, healthy, and able to move through life as freely as possible. With our patient-centric mentality, we don’t simply focus on the child in his or her current stage, we create solutions that will positively impact them into adulthood.
At F.I.T your child will receive individualized care with a treatment plan designed specifically to their needs. Pediatric physical therapy encompasses a vast variety of abilities and needs, and it is our goal to partner with you and your child to help you navigate the functional obstacles in life. The doctor will continuously be observing your child’s movement and abilities and altering the treatment plan as necessary. Although it can be daunting, pediatric therapy often involves participation in therapy over a more extended period of time, but our goal is to assist your child in reaching their highest level of function as quickly and safely as possible.
How pediatric physical therapy differs from traditional physical therapy
Children, especially younger children, don’t always understand why they are in physical therapy or its importance. For that reason, pediatric physical therapy is quite different from adult physical therapy. A unique element is the addition of family involvement. Whereas adults typically don’t require any help from family members, family involvement is crucial to ensuring a child feels comfortable.
During the younger years, children see their parents or other parental figures as security, and to promote overall physical wellness, it is important that we incorporate that security into our practices. That means parents will have an active role in our treatment plans, which makes pediatric therapy at F.I.T. so successful. As a bonus, it also helps relieve stress and fears that a parent may have.
In addition, it is important to implement activities and a fun atmosphere in pediatric physical therapy to keep a child engaged. Children have a shorter attention span, and that could hinder the success of a session if a physical therapist isn’t used to working with kids. However, F.I.T. has years of experience in pediatric therapy, enabling us to get the most out of each session. We take time to carefully understand each child to figure out what works best for them and which techniques aren’t showing results. As a result, we are better able to improve a child’s motor skills to increase functionality.
All in all, though the goal of pediatric physical therapy is the same as traditional therapy, the means of reaching that goal keeps a growing child in mind. With each session, we will gradually advance the treatments as the child begins to improve. Keep in mind that each child will develop at different rates, so you shouldn’t rush the process or compare your child to someone else’s. When you work with F.I.T., we collaborate with you and your child’s doctor to target motor deficiencies while improving stability, balance, control, and coordination, all on a timeline that best suits the child.
Is Pediatric Physical Therapy right for you?
Take a couple of minutes to tell us about your symptoms and pain areas. Prefer to chat over the phone? Call us for a free phone consultation.
Visit your local F.I.T. Clinic
Meet the team at any of our 7 locations: Blue Valley, Crossroads, Olathe, Kansas City, Lee’s Summit, Shawnee, & Overland Park.