Pediatric Physical & Occupational Therapy

Pediatric physical therapy and occupational therapy can often be confused with each another. While the two different therapies can focus on similar things, their goals are different. Physical therapy is for rehabilitation. Occupational therapy helps with accomplishing everyday activities. Your child may receive both physical therapy and occupational therapy, depending on your child’s diagnosis and needs.

What is pediatric physical therapy?

Pediatric physical therapy is a rehabilitation service provided to children who have problems with movement. Pediatric physical therapists help children from infancy to adolescence. Children can get help with:

  • Balance and coordination

  • Cardiopulmonary endurance

  • Gross motor skills

  • Movement and mobility

  • Orthotics and prosthetics

  • Posture and positioning

  • Strengthening

  • Wound care

Physical therapists work to help children gain or regain strength in their muscles and joints by focusing on:

  • Body awareness

  • Endurance

  • Flexibility

  • Gait mechanics

  • Orthotics training

  • Pain relief

  • Strength

What is pediatric occupational therapy?

Pediatric occupational therapy helps children who sensory, physical, or cognitive disabilities gain independence in their life. Pediatric occupational therapists help children who have trouble doing everyday things. 

Occupational therapy helps with accomplishing activities while dealing with limitations. This includes things like:

  • Handwriting

  • Dressing/grooming themselves

  • Feeding themselves

  • Organizing thoughts

  • interpreting situations

Talk with your primary care provider about whether a pediatric occupational therapist can help your child.

Pediatric physical and occupational therapy treatments

Occupational therapy often is prescribed along with physical therapy. Many times patients who need physical therapy also need occupational therapy.

Physical and occupational therapists work to help children regain strength in their muscles and joints. They can provide information and strengthening exercises that improve gait, balance, coordination, and movement.

Therapy plans can include a variety of focuses, such as:

  • Balance and coordination challenges

  • Developmental activities

  • Exercises

  • Safety programs

  • Water therapy

  • Assistive technology

  • Neuro-developmental treatments

  • Sensory integrations

  • Therapeutic listening