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Happy PT Month

October is Physical Therapy Month, so to celebrate all the fantastic PTs on our First Steps Team, we liked to share a few details about this exciting and rewarding profession. Also, share a few details about how physical therapy began and specifically the Pediatric Physical Therapist's role.

Modern Physical therapy was established towards the end of the 19th century when the polio epidemic had spread across the United States. World War I was also happening along with this epidemic and women were recruited to rehabilitate injured soldiers. In 1918 the term "Reconstruction Aide" was used to refer to those practicing physical therapy with the first school of physical therapy established at Walter Reed Army Hospital in Washington, D.C.

Now that we know a little about history, we can focus on what a pediatric therapist might be able to do for your child. Pediatric PTs are specifically trained to improve children's lives and the daily function of those who suffer from various injures and congenital conditions. The therapist will work with the child and their family to assist that child in reaching their maximum potential to function as independently as possible and promote active participation and mobility in the home, in school, and in their surrounding community. Pediatric patients range from premature infants still in the NICU to teenage athletes to children with various developmental disabilities. Often physical therapists follow these kids into young adulthood.

Conditions specifically treated by Pediatric Physical Therapists include Cerebral Palsy, Autism, Down Syndrome, Muscular Dystrophies, Spina Bifida, Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis, Cystic Fibrosis, Cancer Related Issues, and Traumatic Brain Injury, to name just a few. Some children that see a physical therapist may not even have a specific diagnosis but present with low muscle tone or delayed motor skill development. Orthopedic conditions are also treated by pediatric PTs, including fractures, scoliosis, sports injuries, and orthopedic surgeries.

Pediatric physical therapists develop the strength and range of motion children need to move throughout their environment efficiently. They also assess flexibility, posture, gait (walking pattern), balance, and coordination and are trained to determine developmental motor levels. They are also trained to determine adaptive equipment needs that might be needed, for example, walkers, wheelchairs, and other seating or standing equipment.

Because children can't always understand why they are doing physical therapy, pediatric physical therapists must use their creativity to make therapy fun and rewarding for the child.

Pediatric physical therapists often start lifelong relationships with the children and families they support, and it is an enriching career. Our First Steps Physical Therapy team has a passion for the children and families they serve and looks forward to helping kids reach their full potential each day.

We are currently taking on new clients as well, so feel free to contact our referral manager if your child is in need of physical, occupational, or speech therapy services!

Referral Manager: Kenna Tibbits

P: 720-989-0179

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