You will find pediatric physical therapists in rehab centers, doctor's offices, schools, hospitals, and even at specialized childcare centers. Many physical therapist job openings are open throughout the country because of a lack of qualified candidates applying for the positions. With a large population, these trained workers are being stretched thin in many areas of the country.
One of the therapists who has been working with younger patients for several years states that when she can work with her small patients in a home environment or familiar setting, they often accomplish much more as a result. Sometimes it is impossible to work with children outside of a hospital or clinic due to the type of therapy involved or the equipment needed, but even if intense therapy sessions are mandated, these pediatric therapists will still try to give their littlest clients a bit of fun and frolic if they are able.
When children need to find help and specialized techniques in order to accomplish certain movements or develop important skills it is physical therapists who ride to the rescue. With children, it is often play and repeated exercises that will encourage them to work on their coordination, balance, or strength. Sometimes these children are suffering from traumas, brain injuries, premature birth, or disorders like cerebral palsy. The sooner the intervention can begin the more time the therapist has to work on correcting the problems.
Some physical therapists work with both adults and children but usually it is only the therapists who specialize in pediatric physical therapy, and adjunct care, who will carry on the long term treatment plans and set the appropriate goals for each young client. The scope of patient that these pediatric specialists will care for encompasses all manner of injury and disorders. A pediatric physical therapist might be required to come up with treatment goals and plans for children who have spina bifida, coordination disorders, muscular dystrophy, Down's syndrome, sports injuries or even partial or complete paralysis.
All physical therapists including those in the pediatric area are trained to do complete evaluations on patients, construct a treatment plan, perform individual therapy, educate the child and family and these people will co-ordinate their work and goals with the occupational therapy and speech therapy departments. The primary concern of all of the therapists is ensuring that each child receives the maximum benefit from all of the treatments that are done.
The goal of any physical therapy is to help patients move their body and attain as much mobility, independence, and normal function as possible. They must be prepared to assist patients, but the main idea is to encourage them to do things for themselves. Sometimes even small children have suffered strokes or other injuries that have left them weak or paralyzed in one or more of their limbs. It is the job of a pediatric physical therapist, or PT professional, to evaluate the lack of movement, investigate and study the cause and then carry out the physician's orders regarding specific treatment modalities, exercises and movement.
In certain surgeries or traumas it is very important not to move an extremity too much or too little, so these health care workers have to carefully follow instructions in the correct manner. It is the PT department that will discuss different treatment plans if there are problems that are not responding to the methods that are being used. If the physician approves the plan in strategy, new exercises and stretches can be added to see if that will help the patient make more progress.
Some of the workers who specialize in treating clients under 18 really believe that the most interesting job to have in the pediatric physical therapy field is working with the children who have disorders like muscular dystrophy and cerebral palsy. One worker who has worked with children with neuromuscular diseases and disorders has been in the same department at the same hospital for more than 10 years. She says that the work always offers different challenges, but you are rewarded when you can see the results and the smiles on the children's faces as they take a few steps, or when they can leave a wheelchair and move with braces or crutches.
Working as a pediatric physical therapist with very young children who suffer from developmental problems is an area of great interest for many of these workers. Currently there is a great deal of work and research being conducted, and as a result, the therapists are getting to try out many new and innovative therapies in order to help their young clients. Not only is this allowing these health care workers to achieve more progress and better results with many of their own patients, they know that these newer methods for pediatric physical therapy care and treatment will soon be helping many other children throughout the nation and the world.