Our physical therapy program works with children and their families to help children gain the gross motor skills needed to perform normal daily tasks such as walking, running and climbing. We utilize clinical activities, manual therapy and hippotherapy to help children improve in needed basic components of movement such as core strength, basic mobility, balance and the coordinated use of their body. Physical therapy will also utilize sensory motor activities to benefit a child’s physical self perception and ability to plan and generate motor activity sequences. As needed, our therapy staff also assists in obtaining adaptive equipment like walkers, shoe inserts or braces and serial casting.
An occupational therapist is someone who specializes in working with individuals who have conditions which are limiting their ability to independently complete everyday tasks. In a pediatric setting an OT uses their expertise to help children gain the functional skills they need for independence in play, learning, sensory-motor skill development, self care, and socialization as these apply in home, school, and community environments. Our OT helps children prepare for and perform important learning and developmental activities. This typically includes motoric use of the hands and body, work on bilateral coordination, sensory processing, motor planning, visual perception skills and visual motor skills. It also includes direct practice of tasks, often with adaptations or modifications of fine motor and self care tasks that are difficult for the individual child.
A Speech-Language Pathologist helps children communicate with the world around them through sounds, words, gestures, sign language, pictures, or technology. The therapist helps to give them a voice to share their ideas and desires. Our SLP also helps children understand the communication of others, so they are better able to engage in routines and follow directions in their daily lives. Social and play skills are addressed because all communication occurs within social relationships, and play is the work of children. Our program involves the family in this process, giving them information and activity ideas, so that they can follow through at home and in the community
Manual Therapy is a process of determining and relieving soft tissue restriction and restoring minor joint motions as needed. This therapy occurs on a treatment (massage) table with the child relaxing. The fascial planes of the body are moved toward ease and elongation as possible and with a primary focus on the transverse diaphragm regions such as respiratory, pelvic etc. This type of bodywork at the spine and head is Craniosacral Therapy. The body is considered as a continuous system from foot to head in this method of evaluation and treatment of soft tissues.
Hippotherapy refers to the incorporation of equine movement in treatment sessions conducted by licensed Therapists and Therapist Assistants. These therapy professionals apply clinical reasoning in the purposeful manipulation of equine movement to engage the patient’s physical and sensory systems in order to create a functional change. The 3 dimensional motion of the horse’s movement is translated up through the patients core providing any or all of mobilization and core strengthening or important somatosensory or body sensation input. The opportunity for continual forward motion or use of a curved line path or varied speed of walking provides a base of support that can be varied to meet the needs of individual patients. Used with other therapy techniques, hippotherapy is part of a patients integrated care plan. If you are interested in learning more about Hippotherapy you can read about it in our document What is Hippotherapy-PDF or visit the American Hippotherapy Association website.