Many children can experience developmental delays, including delays in cognitive, physical and movement development. For movement, balance and physical delays, physical therapy can be a beneficial treatment option. Pediatric physical therapists can provide exercises and therapies to help children achieve their physical milestones to increase their mobility and independence.
Mobility development can be hindered in children for many reasons. Developmental delay can be caused by different syndromes, include Down syndrome, Prader-Will syndrome, Angelman syndrome, Cri-du-chat syndrome and turner syndrome. Cystic fibrosis and Duchenne and Becker muscular dystrophy can also cause developmental delay, or a child may just struggle with achieving their mobility milestones without a diagnosed illness.
Pediatric physical therapy for development delays focuses on several areas to help children build their motor skills and coordination. It is not just the muscles that need development and therapy; it is important to include therapies that enhance how the child perceives and initiates movement. A comprehensive treatment program is needed that is customized to the individual child’s needs and areas of delayed development. A pediatric physical therapist can create a treatment plan that may include:
- Neural center therapy
- Sensory system therapy for balance and coordination
- Proprioceptive center therapy, helping with perception of space
- Muscle and traditional physical therapy
- Sensory therapy
All these areas work together as a child develops and any delay in development in one can impact the others. Pediatric physical therapists can combine different therapies that can help children improve how these different systems work together for greater dexterity, balance and mobility.
Parents of children diagnosed with developmental delays should seek the care of a pediatric physical therapist to explore treatment options. With physical therapy, children with development delays can achieve the milestones they need for a healthier and more active childhood.
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