Pediatric Physical Therapy (PT)

Children who have suffered an injury or have difficulty moving due to illness, congenital disorder or developmental delay may need physical therapy. The purpose of physical therapy is to maintain or improve range of motion, to alleviate pain or discomfort, and to prevent further injury. In addition, some physicians may recommend physical therapy in lieu of surgery or medication.

What is Pediatric Physical Therapy (PPT)?

Physical therapy is a comprehensive system of activities designed to improve movement or rehabilitate pain. A licensed physical therapist performs an examination and designs a treatment plan based on physician recommendation and the physical therapist’s evaluation of the child’s needs.

Physical therapists must have an advanced education that includes either a master’s or doctorate degree. In addition, they must have completed a one-year clinical residency and have a license to practice in the state. Some physical therapists receive additional certification as pediatric physical therapists, gaining expertise in caring for children and the conditions that affect patients in this age group.

In particular, pediatric physical therapists in Texas must undergo some of the most rigorous physical therapy training in the country. Pediatric physical therapists in North Texas must undergo doctorate-level training within an institution accredited under the Accreditation of Therapy Education (CAPTE). In addition, they must pass the National Physical Therapy exam administered from the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT) and obtain a physical therapy license from the Executive Council of Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy Examiners (ECPTOTE).

Pediatric physical therapists have extensive knowledge of childhood anatomy and development. These specialists have training in pediatric physical therapy and children’s play in order to teach the child how to maneuver and participate in activities effectively. Participating in a pediatric physical therapy program in North Texas

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why Does My Child Need Physical Therapy?

Some parents find it overwhelming to hear that a child needs physical therapy. However, a proper overview of the physical therapy program and process may unveil that this is one of the best interventions to provide for your child.

We provide physical therapy pediatric programs for young children to help them develop gross motor skills. This includes children who have experienced a range of injuries, illnesses, or chronic diseases.

For instance, a child with cerebral palsy may need physical therapy as part of a comprehensive program to help with muscle strength and movement and to prevent joints from stiffening. Physical therapy is also the main treatment program for torticollis, a tightening or twisting of infant neck muscles that causes issues with movement, balance, or overall skeletal development.

Other conditions in children that may require physical therapy pediatric interventions include the following:

  • Amputations
  • Arthrogryposis
  • Bone tumors
  • Brain tumors
  • Congenital (present at birth) discrepancies in limb length
  • Congenital disorders
  • Developmental delays
  • Issues with fine motor skills
  • Muscular dystrophy
  • Orthopedic injuries
  • Problems with gait
  • Problems with visual or sensory integration
  • Spina bifida
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Traumatic brain injury

How Do I Prepare for a Pediatric Physical Therapy Appointment?

Compile a list of questions that you wish to ask the pediatric physical therapist. This can help you feel more empowered and involved in the process. This list may include notations about pain or symptoms experienced, questions about the physical therapy evaluation, or an outline of physical therapy milestones and goals.

Notes for your new pediatric physical therapist should be as detailed as possible. For example, you may include times of day that the physical problem feels worse or what types of movements or positions that exacerbate the pain.

First Pediatric Physical Therapy Appointment Tips and Recommendations

The first appointment is an exciting first step toward reaching your child’s physical therapy goals. During the first appointment, be prepared to answer a range of questions about your child’s health condition or medical history. It is also helpful to keep documentation handy.

The first visit can also consist of a pediatric physical therapy evaluation. A physical therapist may ask your child to perform certain physical activities to observe range of motion or muscle strength. For example, the pediatric physical therapist may observe your child walk across the room.

Upon completion of the evaluation, the physical therapist may start the child on a pediatric physical therapy treatment plan right away. This may include a series of movements or physical therapy activities customized to fit your child’s needs. The treatment program may also include resources, exercises, and activities to complete at home between visits to the pediatric physical therapist.


We offer in-clinic pediatric occupational therapy in Richardson, Carrollton and Garland, Texas. The pediatric occupational therapy program works with children from age 3 years old to 8 years old.

For children needing services from birth – 3 years old, please refer to our Early Childhood Intervention Program.

Ask about both our occupational therapy services. Click here to Request Services.

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