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.
What is Physiotherapy?
Physiotherapy is a healthcare profession that promotes the health and wellbeing of all.
Physiotherapists are responsible for the assessment and physical management of those needing treatment due to accident, injury, ageing, disease or disability.
What is paediatric physiotherapy?
Paediatric physiotherapy is the treatment and care of babies, children and young people from birth to 19 years.
Paediatric (children's) physiotherapists bring their specialist skills as physiotherapists and have additional expert knowledge and experience of child development and of childhood conditions.
What do children's physiotherapists do?
Intervention is based upon an assessment of the child’s needs and the formation of an individual treatment programme.
Children's physiotherapists recognise the importance of working in partnership with the child, parents and carers to maximise a child’s physical abilities and independence.
Children's physiotherapists should have a good 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
Children's physiotherapists treat babies, children and young people with a wide range of conditions. Some are similar to those seen in adults and some are specific to children:
- Acute injuries e.g. fractures, sports injuries
- Burns and plastics
- Childhood cancers
- Congenital disorders e.g. Spina Bifida, limb deficiencies
- Co-ordination difficulties
- Developmental delay
- Learning difficulties
- Neonatal care
- Neuromuscular disorders e.g. Muscular Dystrophy
- Neurological conditions e.g. Cerebral Palsy, Head Injury, Spinal Cord Injury
- Orthopaedic conditions e.g. Talipes, Torticollis, Plagiocephaly
- Respiratory conditions e.g. Asthma, Cystic Fibrosis
- Rheumatological conditions e.g. Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis
Choosing a Children's Physiotherapist
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 and treatment from an independent or private physiotherapist either instead of, or as well as, NHS care. Please see our Find a Children's Physiotherapist online directory and guidance for parents seeking a private physiotherapist.