All babies, children and young people are important. They each have their own unique personality and potential. They deserve the best possible care and nurture to support their health and development.
Physiotherapists who work with children are specialist practitioners who have the right skills and specific knowledge to deliver appropriate care and education to encourage family involvement.
Children's physiotherapists should have an understanding of:
- child development
- childhood diseases and conditions that may impact on development and well being
- therapeutic interventions that enable and optimise development and well being
- the need to place the child at the centre of planning
- the impact that having a sick or disabled child has on family life
- how to keep children safe
- how to ensure that children and young people make choices
- how to develop their own skills and practice
- how to develop services in line with Government guidance committed to improving quality and life chances for children
The majority of children's physiotherapists work in the NHS. Your GP can advise you about local services and make a referral if appropriate. Some parents choose to seek advice from an independent or private children's physio either, instead of, or as well as NHS care. Your child can have more than one therapist working with them but it is helpful if you inform both about this so they can work together to common goals.
When choosing an independent/ private children's physiotherapist, there are a number of things you should consider:
- are they specialised in working with children and childhood conditions? Ask them to describe the nature of the work they have done and how long they have been doing it for.
- it is essential to be registered with the Health and Care Professions Council- you can check here
- children's physiotherapists are subject to enhanced disclosure from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS), you are entitled to see evidence of their DBS clearance.
- how much do they charge? There is no set fee for this service, clarify if it is clinic or home based and whether it includes or excludes travel. Are there additional charges for reports?
- will there be a contract for services- read it carefully.
- are they happy to have an initial meeting? Some therapists will meet with you and your child to discuss your needs before you agree any intervention. It is an opportunity for you and your child to decide if you will get on with the therapist, ask if there would be a cost for this.
- what service will be provided? How much will you be involved in determining the goals for your child? How many sessions are suggested to achieve these goals?
- will they be able to see your child in nursery or school if required?
- will they work with an NHS physio if your child has one? It is essential that all people working with children do so with common aims and communicate with each other the best way of putting your child at the centre of care. This will require your consent for them to liaise with others involved in your child's care.
- will you receive a full assessment report? It is useful to confirm at the outset what written information you will receive and if it is included in the cost. Will you get a written intervention plan?
Search for a children's physiotherapist
Please visit the CSP's website where you can search for a children's physiotherapist