First visit to a pediatric physiotherapist – everything you need to know!
Pediatric physiotherapists with specialization in neurology are experts in improving children with developmental problems caused most often by their diseases, such as cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, hydrocephalus, etc. They are also able to help children who have been injured as a result of an accident or sports activity, after which motor dysfunctions caused by CNS damage are visible. Whatever the reason why your child needs to see a pediatric physiotherapist, you should know what to expect when visiting one for the first time and be prepared for all the questions they will ask you.
Who is a pediatric physiotherapist?
A pediatric physiotherapist is a person who helps children with movement system dysfunctions of neurological origin and not only, to achieve clearly defined milestones, correct movement patterns, necessary to function in adult life without disability-related limitations. They pave the way through stimulation and improvement, performing intended activities in developmental delays and disabilities, including cerebral palsy, dyspraxia, muscular dystrophy, attention deficit disorder and autism. They also often work with patients with cerebral palsy, spina bifida, and other conditions that may prevent them from performing basic and complex activities of daily living. A pediatric physiotherapist works primarily with children, but also with parents and carers in a rehabilitation center, but also on how to instruct parents in the context of patient rehabilitation at home, using techniques and exercises learned in the clinic. They can show you how to stimulate your baby safely, teach you how to use assistive devices such as a harness, and give you advice on adjusting your baby’s environment. Remember! A physiotherapist advises not only in the field of widely perceived improvement, but also supports mentally and uplifts the spirit. A pediatric physiotherapist specializing in neurology deals with patients who, due to CNS pathology, are unable to develop and live properly.
What can a pediatric physiotherapist do for me?
A pediatric physiotherapist will try to provide you and your child with a proper diagnosis supported by the right results and find the cause of pain and discomfort. Physiotherapy rehabilitation is tailored to individual needs and may include specific methods, physical therapy and kinesiotherapy exercises. Whether the effects will be visible after the end of cooperation with a physiotherapist depends on what disease the child is struggling with, what injury has occurred, on the involvement (not only of the child) and whether the parents have adapted to the specialist’s instructions.
When should parents consider seeing a pediatric physiotherapist?
The symptoms are primarily deviations from the norm in the child’s behavior. Depending on the specific MŻ, these may be, for example, clenched fists, a disturbed sucking reflex, reduced or increased body tone, excessive stimulation or, on the contrary, a child who is not very active, and crying and sleeping problems for no specific reason. It is impossible to say whether the process of rehabilitation or re-education will take a long or short time. Any factor, even such as – the work of the family community – can have a very large impact on the final results.
How do I know if my child needs physiotherapy?
If you have noticed that your child behaves differently – he is more or less agitated, avoids games, often cries, has trouble sleeping, these may already be the first signs that you should look for a problem. Specific symptoms that should prompt us to visit a family doctor at this stage include even in infancy, e.g. difficulties in sitting, front support, lack of head control, pathological and inexplicable increased/decreased muscle tone, lack of rotation from belly to back and in childhood, e.g.: inability to walk more than a few meters, inability to jump, gross and fine motor dysfunctions, problems with ADL and IADL, e.g. eating, putting on a blouse, tying shoes, holding a pencil, etc. The first visit will be a consultation to determine what kind of help your child needs. All problems that children experience will be discussed, and the physiotherapist will identify them and propose potential solutions that will help achieve the intended therapeutic goals. Important! Some of the tests you are likely to be asked about by your specialist physiotherapist may prove useful. You can expect that you will spend up to an hour at the first meeting with a children’s physiotherapist, because an extensive interview is a solid basis for any further action. He or she will discuss your child’s history with you and end with a physical examination. It is also important to realize that when a pathology or dysfunction is detected, a therapeutic team consisting of a doctor, teacher, pedagogue, physiotherapist and perhaps a nurse starts working, which is why it is so important to provide information from a specific specialist. Fruitful cooperation results in positive therapy results.
Will my child need long-term physiotherapy?
Your child will need long-term physiotherapy when:
1. Has a disease that causes symptoms such as pain or inadequate reflex development, problems through neurological conditions such as CP and other entities such as spina bifida, spasticity, scoliosis, Down syndrome
2. Injuries or conditions that will not improve without a treatment program and the GP alone cannot help the child get back on track with medication alone.
3. Your child is too young for surgery – requires surgery in the future (e.g. severe hip dysplasia) or his condition or disease does not qualify for surgery
4. They have chronic or serious bone and joint problems from birth, so they would need long-term rehabilitation anyway
When will my child be ready to see a pediatric physiotherapist?
For infants, the best solution is to visit a pediatric physiotherapist as soon as possible, preferably before the age of six months. This is because this is the time when most babies will start to crawl and their muscles will change and grow intensively. As children grow up, they will begin to perpetuate and develop bad habits such as using their fingers and toes instead of their hands and feet to move around. However, contacting your infant with a pediatric physiotherapist at this stage can help them break these habits early and prevent long-term problems with orthotics or abnormal movement patterns. What’s more, it should be remembered that a younger child sentenced to a very long (even several years) cooperation with a physiotherapist will get used to and like the specialist from an early age, so that the therapy will not be anything terrible for him, it may even become a form of fun. It is important to ensure that your child has not already developed any serious faulty movement or posture habits before being examined by a pediatric physiotherapist. don’t wait!
How often should we go to a session with a physiotherapist?
Depending on the degree of disability or injury, visits will be more or less frequent. If your child’s injury is mild, you may only need four or five sessions with the physiotherapist before the patient returns to pre-accident condition. More serious injuries may require a stay with a physical therapist for several months. What is the case in the case of neurological diseases and ailments of CNS dysfunction? Regular meetings with a specialist can last up to several years. It all depends on the impact of individual movements, exercises and recommendations on the patient’s psyche and body. Unfortunately, no physiotherapist will ever give us a specific date for the end of therapy, because each patient is different and reacts differently to the measures given to him (in the field of special methods, kinesitherapy and physiotherapy). As parents, we should not worry about it, because all the details regarding the frequency of meetings with the pediatric physiotherapist will be agreed and adapted to the lifestyle of the parents, the child and the patient’s therapeutic team.