Principles of Paediatric Physiotherapy

Original Editor - Niha Mulla Top Contributors - Niha Mulla

Introduction[edit | edit source]

Peadiatric Physiotherapist have a concrete idea that, children are different composition than adults. If kids are unable to keep up with various other kids of the same age, who do those activities very easily; there might exist some developmental disorders. In such cases, physiotherapist might help with child development. Along with having generic skills for patient treatment, physiotherapist need additional clinical skills to warrant treatment of babies of infants and children. [1]

Physiotherapist have to work with the team of peadiatrician/neurologist, nurses, occupational therapist, speech therapist, psychologist, play therapist, pharmacist, nutritionist, teachers, parents, etc. with good communication and shared goals, to attain maximal physical independence of the child. [1] [2]

Normal Child Development[edit | edit source]

An understanding of "Normal" is mandatory before the abnormal can be studied, identified and treated. It is also vital to recognize that at times the writ by which infants and children achieve the development is varying. Typical normal child development is summarized on our page "Child Development"

Scope of Paediatric Physiotherapy[edit | edit source]


Paediatric physiotherapist treat broad range of activity and skill disorders including Anatomical and physiological issues, developmental delays, orthopaedic/musculoskeletal anomalies, respiratory conditions, neuromuscular and neurological disorders in varying domain working in preposition of their purview of enactment.[1][2][4]

Physical management blue prints are integrated by the physiotherapist, making the parents and care givers fell more confident about achieving child's maximal physical potential and activity independence.[1][5]

5 Facts of Paediatric Physiotheray By Physiotherapy research foundation, Australia mentions how motor learning is beneficial to infants suffering from cerebral palsy and how, urotherapy helps cure childhood incontinence. [6]

Benefits of Paediatric Physiotherapy[edit | edit source]

  • Improves posture and reflexes of child[7]
  • Make movement easier by training normal pattern of movements
  • Improves gross motor skills[8]
  • Improves functional mobility
  • Improves muscle imbalance and muscle strength[5][8]
  • Improves balance and coordination
  • Improves range of motion
  • Improves muscle tone
  • Improved gait/gait training

Common Treatment Approaches And General Principles of Treatment[edit | edit source]

Extensive span of treatment approaches are used by physiotherapist in accordance with chronicity of the condition being treated.

All approaches need care assessment by the physiotherapist in both acute as well as chronic conditions. [2]It is vital to understand that, all approaches in paediatric physiotherapy, aim towards the child living the optimum quality of life. [9]

Some Specific Treatments Approaches[edit | edit source]

  1. Bobath approach: It is a neurodevelopmental treatment used to improve Developmental Sequences, Inhibition of abnormal patterns, facilitation of normal postural control and use of sensory stimuli for inhibition or activation of muscle movement. [2][9]
  2. Motor Learning: Is beneficial in treating infants sufferings from cerebral palsy.[10]
  3. Conductive education approach: A very rigorous treatment model that concentrates on all aspects of life. This is done by a 'conductor' constantly overseeing the child activity.[2]
  4. The Margaret Rood Technique: This approach treats using superficial and deep stimulation and consists of manipulations for activation or inhibition of motor activity.
  5. The temple fay technique: Normal movements pattern are activated by sequential developmental movement.
  6. The Doman-Delecto technique: This technique facilitates the dormant central nervous system pathways of the brain by using consistent - repetitive movements of patterns of normal sequential developmental movement.
  7. The Kabat - Knott - Voss Technique: Proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation using functional movement patterns. [2]
  8. Urotherapy: Provided by continence physiotherapist which concentrates on treating bowel and bladder issues by; pelvic floor muscle training, neuromodulation, lifestyle changes with behavioral modification.[11]

Play as Therapy[edit | edit source]

Play based therapy motivates the child and improves function, simultaneously. It is essential to enhance balance and improve gross motor skill.[2]

Psychological aspect of Children[edit | edit source]

Child psychology knowledge, plays a vital role in treating children. A child may have lack of understanding due to mental impairment which can pose a huge challenge on a physiotherapist while creating a treatment regime. [2]

Parent Support Groups[edit | edit source]

Parents should be instructed to join parent support groups so they can meet other parents and special need children with the specific condition of their child. The shared experiences help the parents in coping with their child's condition as they feel understood by other parents dealing with same difficulties as the group provides a safe place to talk. These groups can help the physiotherapist to direct the treatment as a larger picture can be drawn from group information accumulation.[2]

Community Paediatric Physiotherapy[edit | edit source]

Physiotherapy treatment is vast and extensive and can go along the life of the child as the child grows. The needs of the child change as they grow and so does the treatment plan. A physiotherapist has to accesses the child's home, school or community area for any modifications to be done/advised for community area or treatment plan, in order to achieve maximal daily living activity independence in accordance to the child's educational, social and cultural needs. [2]

Ethics And Consent in Paediatric Physiotherapy[edit | edit source]

The concept of consent in firstly, based on the respect for patient autonomy and the notion of patient being involved in the plan of treatment only after elaborate understanding of the treatment plan. [1][12]A physiotherapist is required to ensure, all information is passed on to the patient without assuming, that patient has any information at all.

It is mandatory to provide all information to the patient without any bias that can influence patients decision making.[13]

Duty of Care by Physiotherapist[edit | edit source]

Health care professional/ Physiotherapist is abide by the law to make informed clinical decision, in the best interest of the patient. A therapist must also answer all patients questions on the basis of latest scientific evidence. [1]

Principles of Paediatric Physiotherapy Summary[edit | edit source]

  • Child/ Children disorders are treated by the physiotherapist, with correct comprehensive assessment, followed by diagnosis and an efficient treatment plan.[5]
  • Assessment is conducted in the presence of parent or guardian with their informed consent.
  • Peadiatric physiotherapy treatment is based on a number of hands on techniques and exercises with a goal of normalizing muscle tone, achieving normal range of motion, strength, coordination and balance. Improving posture and mobility is vital with precise understanding of child psychology.[2] [5]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Julie Burslem, Dlolres McAtasney, Kerry McGarrity, Sam old, Jane Sellar, Gabriela Todd. Working with Children - Guidance on good Practice. 2016
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 Stuart Porter, at al. Tidy’s Physiotherapy, Chapter 8 “Paediatric Physiotherapy". 2003 Edition 13
  3. Available from Movin' Mountains Therapy Services.Paediatric physiotherapy Services. 2019
  4. Horridge K. at al, British Academy of Childhood Disability (BACD). Quality principles for paediatric disability services. 2016
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Available from Physio Experts, Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation Centre. Principles of Paediatric Physiotherapy 2019
  6. Tavendale K, Krishnamoorthy G, Jensen L, Healey E. 5 facts about paediatric physiotherapy. Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA). 2020
  7. Faye, N. The benefits of paediatric physiotherapy.Pregma. 2021 Available from:
  8. 8.0 8.1 Team NAPA. Paediatric physiotherapy - benefits for kids: World-renowned Napa [Internet]. NAPA. 2021
  9. 9.0 9.1 Das P. Pediatric Physiotherapy. Physiotherapy Treatment. 2020 Available from:
  10. Morgan C, Darrah J, Gordon AM, Harbourne R, Spittle A, Johnson R, Fetters L. Effectiveness of motor interventions in infants with cerebral palsy: a systematic review. Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology. 2016 Sep;58(9):900-9.
  11. Maternik M, Krzeminska K, Zurowska A. The management of childhood urinary incontinence. Pediatric Nephrology. 2015 Jan;30(1):41-50.
  12. Consent and physiotherapy practice. The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy. 2016 April 4 Available from:
  13. Graham J. Ethical and legal frameworkof paediatric physiotherapy practice. Physiotherapy for Children. 2007 Sep 13.