Many families come to Pediatric Physical Therapy but they are unsure what to do or how to help make the most of their visit. The University of Wisconsin-Madison, school of medicine and public health has some great tips that families can use to get the most out of your Pediatric Physical Therapy visit.
Tips to Get the Most Out of Pediatric Physical Therapy
Be a good historian. At the first appointment, the PT will do an examination to see what’s going on with the body and they will ask questions. It is helpful to write down important surgeries or events that have impacted your child’s health.
Set goals. Think about goals for treatment – is it to return to a particular sport or activity, or maybe decrease pain? The goals will help determine the course of treatment.
Commit to your appointments. How quickly progress is made will depend on whether you are attending the appointments.
Do the homework. When it comes to pediatric physical therapy, parents and their children do have to do some work outside of the visit. The exercises the PT recommends are to help improve muscle strength and joint mobility and often require repetition and consistency over time to see results. If families don’t follow the directions, it is difficult to know why their symptoms may not be improving – and as a result, it’s difficult to know how to adjust the treatment plan.
Find a dedicated space to do the work. A dedicated space to do the exercises whether it’s a gym or a spare room in the house, having the space to move and focus on the exercises can help.
Speak up and ask questions. Some people may think that what their child is doing is normal, and not mention it to their PT. Even the smallest details can help solve the largest problem. Ask questions because PTs want to make sure the families concerns are addressed and that everyone is comfortable with the plan moving forward.
Keep the lines of communication open. Communicate with PTs between appointments if a problem comes up, something causes pain or the exercises are confusing. That way, it is possible to keep the exercises going rather than having to wait to clarify things at the next appointment.
Keep up the good work. Once treatment has concluded, PTs can recommend how to prevent injuries or continue progressing with milestones/skills in the future.
Josh Macey, PTA