As a parent, at one point or another, you may have noticed something in your child that’s made you wonder if their physical development is normal and on-track. Does your newborn’s head tilt to one side? Is your baby’s crawling or walking delayed? As a first-time parent or not, if your concern deepens, the idea of what to do and where to go for help is daunting. Naturally, your first step is to call your pediatrician with questions. In many cases, the issue may resolve itself over time, but together with your pediatrician, you may want to consider visiting a Physical Therapist for a consultation.
Wendy Kaplan-Lager, PT, a White Plains-based Physical Therapist with over 33 years of experience, shares that “the goal of physical therapy is to prevent or correct physical dysfunction when working with gross motor and/or movement disorders in children.” In her practice, Wendy and her associates evaluate and treat infants and children, from preemies to teens, with a warm and welcoming demeanor. Her personalized care is what her clients love most about her, and she approaches each child with an individualized plan.
Wendy explains that a child that falls below normal physical developmental standards should be seen by a Physical Therapist (with a prescription from your pediatrician). Below, she provides the conditions for parents and caregivers to look for when considering their child’s need for treatment:
Your child may need Physical Therapy if you notice any of the conditions below:
1) Torticollis: In infants, head is tilted to one side due to tightness of the neck muscle
2) Delays in gross motor development: Rolling, sitting, crawling, standing, walking
3) Asymmetrical body use: child favors use of one leg/arm/etc. over the other
4) Abnormal or poor posture
5) Limited or excessive joint mobility
6) Floppiness or stiffness in muscle tone
7) Difficulty with balance and coordination
8) Excessive clumsiness
9) Awkward jumping or running patterns
10) Toe walking
11) Genetic disorders
12) Walking difficulties
If you’re concerned about your child’s physical development, your first step is to talk to your pediatrician who will issue a prescription for Physical Therapy. Next, the Physical Therapist will determine the best course of action moving forward, such as how long they anticipate your child may need treatment and what you can do to help the process outside of your visits. In Wendy’s practice, the Physical Therapists are an important part of the health care team, working closely with physicians and other health care professionals on an on-going basis for the benefit of the child.
According to Wendy, once in treatment, the success of any therapy depends on the person or people who spend the most time with the child, mainly the parents or caregivers. The Physical Therapists can help you adapt your home to meet your child’s special needs, and provide exercises and activities to do with your child at home and how to incorporate them into their daily routine. The more educated and confident the family members are with the therapy techniques and exercises, the faster the results for the child! After all, the Physical Therapist’s main goal is to help the child achieve his or her maximum independence attainable for home, school or social activities.
Wendy understands the evaluation process may be stressful and worrisome for some parents, and she is happy to alleviate those worries and concerns at the initial evaluation for your child.