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How to know if a Child Needs Physical Therapy

When parents notice something amiss in their child’s developmental milestones and mobility, they may wonder if their child needs to see a physical therapist. The first step often taken by the parents is visiting the child’s physician with their concerns. With a complete physical examination, the physician will explain to the parents his findings. He will also offer his professional opinion as to if the child can benefit from physical therapy.

There are several different factors that will lead the physician to confirming the child needs physical therapy, either long-term or short-term. These factors include:

  • There is a delay in accomplishing specific milestones, such as rolling over, sitting up, standing and walking.
  • The child appears to be using one side of the body more than the other, as in turning the head primarily to one side.
  • The child is walking in an abnormal manner.
  • The child is having difficulty keeping up with children that are the same age during social activities and play.
  • The child falls frequently.
  • The child is in pain when walking, running, or performing gross motor tasks.
  • An injury is not healing in a timely manner.
  • The child is having difficulty with gross motor activities, such as kicking a ball, throwing a ball, or other active play activity.

If the child’s physician recommends physical therapy, and once the child begins therapy on a regular and consistent basis, the child will begin to make progress in the area or areas of concern. Parents may also be able to attend the therapy sessions and learn what they can do at home to further the child’s progress. Before they know it, their child will be doing once-difficult tasks with ease.

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