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Physical Therapy


Updated April 23, 2008


Physical therapy (PT) refers to therapy which helps children that have problems with balance, coordination, muscle strength, and gross motor skills.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), "physical therapists focus on gross motor skills and functional mobility, including positioning; sitting; transitional movement such as sitting to standing; walking with or without assistive devices (such as walkers, crutches) and orthoses (braces) or prostheses (artificial limbs); wheelchair propulsion; transfers between the wheelchair and other surfaces such as a desk chair, toilet, or bath; negotiation of stairs, ramps, curbs, and elevators; and problem-solving skills for accessibility of public buildings."

Physical therapists can often help children with birth injuries, developmental delays, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, torticollis, spina bifida, sports injuries, and other conditions.

Children can often get physical therapy through their local school district or early childhood intervention program.


AAP Clinical Report. Prescribing Therapy Services for Children with Motor Disabilities. PEDIATRICS Vol. 113 No. 6 June 2004, pp. 1836-1838.

Also Known As: PT
In addition to occupational therapy, children with cerebral palsy often need physical therapy to help them move their bodies better.
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