Paediatric physiotherapist, also known as children's therapist, takes care of the special needs of the children. They work for unique needs of premature babies to adolescents. It is an evidence-based therapy, which optimizes the muscle and joint function available in the growing body. Like all physiotherapists, they work in the area of movement, co-ordination, posture, and cardio respiratory system. The area of work of the physiotherapist is wide, as they have to deal with medical, nursing, social work, educational, psychological and psychiatric needs of children and as speech and occupational therapists.
A paediatrician should be consulted if there is any physical impairment or less musculoskeletal development. They can assist and advise on activities and help in maintaining optimum movement and preventing contracture. Paediatric physiotherapists treat infants and children with conditions like:
• Cerebral palsy
• Development delay
• Syndromes and other genetic conditions
• Minimal cerebral dysfunction
• Osteogenesis imperfecta
• Respiratory problems such as cystic fibrosis or asthma
• Visual handicaps
• Muscular dystrophy and spinal muscular atrophy
• Premature babies with dystopia
The physiotherapist helps in maintaining movement, balance and coordination. Arm exercises can be done with ball works or drawing pictures. Leg exercises can be combined with touching well-placed objects with toes. Standing may be encouraged by placing objects at suitable heights. Movement can be encouraged by fetching and carrying games e.g. shopping. Obstacle games can be a fun exercise for children. Specialist equipments like simple foam wedges, standing boards and frames, walking aids, wheelchairs and body wore equipments like splints, footwear, calipers and final braces may be used.
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