This section of the Physio Extra website has been designed to inform parents about the various disorders that are treated in pediatric physiotherapy and occupational therapy, and to give advice on how to prevent some of them. You can access a number of useful links and references to help you know when to consult with a pediatric physiotherapist.
Another section contains information about equipment that may or may not be useful to a child’s development.
At Physio Extra, we want parents to have access to reliable sources of information and advice, and know that they can trust what they read. Rest assured that this information was written and verified by physiotherapists and other health professionals.
Conditions treated with pediatric physiotherapy
- Congenital muscular torticollis
- Positional plagiocephaly
- Motor developmental delay (all ages), including hypotonia, hypertonia, and children with Down Syndrome
- Musculoskeletal abnormalities (club foot, congenital dislocation of the hip) and brachial plexus injury
- Cerebral palsy, encephalopathy, stroke, and other neurological disorders
- Neuromuscular diseases (Duchenne muscular dystrophy)
- Coordination and balance disorders (poor motor skills)
- Gait abnormalities (toe-walking, in-toeing/out-toeing)
- Premature baby
Note that you do not need a referral to consult with a physiotherapist (no longer necessary since 1990). Note also that while most insurance companies cover physiotherapy treatments, some may require a referral before they will reimburse costs. Contact your insurance company for more information.
What to expect from a session
At Physio Extra, the initial session is set up to assess your child, identify the issues, establish the goals and objectives for the therapy, and clearly explain the problems identified to help you better support your child.
At your first visit, you will be asked to fill out a questionnaire about your child’s history (details of the pregnancy and birth, complications and associated diseases, the child’s motor development to date, habits, etc.).
You will then meet with the physiotherapist who will proceed with the objective assessment (between 45 minutes and one hour). Depending on the child’s age, we will evaluate his/her range of motion, strength, flexibility, posture, muscle tone, motor development, deformities, and functional abilities (mobility, movements, ability to maintain a position, choice of games and toys, etc.).
During this session the physiotherapist will explain the problem(s)/difficulties and provide you with tools, advice, and exercises for you to do at home with your child. Parental involvement in this process is crucial, as parents are the first responders in the child’s life and the people with whom he/she interacts most often. The therapist acts primarily as a guide to identify the appropriate tools needed for optimal development and then teaches you, the parent, how to use them. The therapist will also establish the frequency and approximate duration of the treatment session and plan.
Over the next few sessions, both you and the physiotherapist will re-evaluate the home exercises and adjust the plan according to the child’s progress. The therapist will also do certain activities with your child to guide him/her through any previously identified issues. You will be able to observe how the therapist works and then he/she will give you tips to follow at home. The physiotherapist will also answer any questions you may have throughout the therapeutic process and may, with the assistance of your attending physician, refer your child to other healthcare professionals (occupational therapist, pediatrician, physiatrist, orthopedic surgeon, etc.), if necessary.