A question I often get asked is “What do you actually do?”. Paediatric physiotherapists work in hospitals, clinics and sometimes client homes, providing services such as rehabilitation from illnesses and accidents, stretching, strengthening and exercise programs, and prescription and training in the use of equipment such as mobility aids.
We work with all ages and stages, including premature babies, infants and toddlers, through to teenagers and we address a variety of physical needs. We often work together with other medical and allied health professionals, to maximize recovery, development, and mobility.
So how do we actually get kids moving?
Children learn about their bodies and what their bodies can do through movement. From the time a baby is born, they are exploring ways to move and we, as parents, are providing opportunities for them to move around safely. This happens during daily activities from the way we position them for sleep and eating, to bath time and and the way we position them for play. When we see our little ones reaching new motor milestones we look for ways to further encourage them. For example, making small changes to the arrangement of furniture, or a daily routine, can increase the opportunity for movement. Remember that movement can happen anywhere and anytime.
One of the most important ways that children develop their gross motor skills is through play. Play happens naturally every day. It makes learning an enjoyable and motivating experience but you can also use it to challenge your child to learn new skills, which are what we call “just-right challenges”. Let your child lead in play and see how you can challenge them to do something new.
It is vitally important that a child’s carers are actively participating in their therapy, because the best progress occurs when children are carrying over therapy goals into their everyday environments. Families are always our partners! As a parent, you know your child best – about their strengths, interests and play preferences. Incorporating this information into therapy increases motivation and active participation, from your child.
We aim to make therapy sessions as playful, and play-based, as possible. Working together enables us to determine the best way to encourage your child! Joining your child in movement-based play whenever, and wherever, possible will help to build their confidence and emotional wellbeing whilst creating positive memories and secure attachments.
If you would like to know more about how a physiotherapist can support your child’s motor development, please feel free to contact us at Kaleidoscope.
Senior Paediatric Physiotherapist