Physical therapy addresses balance, coordination, movement, and gross motor skills, meaning movements using the larger muscles. Walking, running, dancing, hopping—these are all vital skills for children to master.

The primary focus of physical therapy is developing strength and nimbleness when using the lower part of the body. This contrasts with occupational therapy, which addresses use of the upper part of the body.

This is especially important for a child that may struggle from cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, birth defects, or a medical condition such as seizures or amputations. Physical therapy includes teaching children how to use walkers, wheelchairs, orthotics, or prosthetics.

Who Might Need Pediatric Physical Therapy?

Who Might Need Pediatric Physical Therapy?

Answer: Any child that misses developmental milestones relating to their ability to walk, move, lift, balance, or control their body. Children can benefit from physical therapy when they:

  • Consistently walk on the balls or tips of their feet
  • Seem clumsy and fall frequently
  • Have a hard time keeping up with other children when playing
  • Tend to favor using only one side of their body
  • Turn their head only one direction most of the time
  • Fail to meet milestones for babies such as turning over, sitting up alone, etc.
  • Are recovering from surgery or an injury
  • Have had an amputation
  • Suffer from a medical condition that impairs their mobility

Pediatric Physical Therapy Activities

Your child’s physical therapy program will be specifically designed for them, based on our assessment of their strengths and difficulties. Here are some of the hundreds of different activities we can do to achieve progress. Remember, the key is always to make it fun and make it a game.

Planking: Many children who need physical therapy struggle with weak core muscles. Planking is an excellent way to build core strength. How long can they hold the plank? Have one child maintain a plank position while other kids scoot under them!

Sitting or bouncing on a therapy ball: Even babies can benefit from this exercise. The small movements required to stay upright on a therapy ball, even with support, strengthen core muscles.

Riding tricycles or toy tractors or animals: This activity not only builds lower body strength but it also improves coordination and movement planning.

Dancing: Who doesn’t love to dance? Encouraging children to dance along with music improves coordination, perception of body position, and strength.

Jumping and hopping: Can they hop right onto the next dot on the floor? Can they jump over the stuffed animals? Can they jump or hop in time to the music? Each variation builds a different ability.

Reaching toes and rolling over: Little babies can be invited to play with their toes to strengthen tummy muscles which helps them learn to roll over. Putting a toy just out of reach encourages them to complete the roll.

Pediatric Physical Therapy Evaluations

Pediatric Physical Therapy Evaluations

Your pediatrician or child’s teacher may recommend a physical therapy evaluation for your child, or perhaps you’ve noticed that they do not seem to be reaching pediatric milestones. We are happy to schedule an evaluation to determine how we can help. Call us at 479-226-3409 to schedule an appointment.

Among all the pediatric physical therapy clinics in Fort Smith and Fayetteville, AR, we pride ourselves on our service to families. We go out of our way to help you with the schedule and services you need for your child’s well-being. If you’ve been searching online for a pediatric physical therapy clinic near you, you have found Little Hands at Play Therapy, which is the best place for your child to achieve their optimal abilities and independence.

Little Hands at Play Therapy is such a great place. I did my research and this place had the best reviews for therapy. Now, my son is currently attending for speech, occupational, and physical therapy. He does not struggle to stay, which that says a lot if you have a special needs child. The owners dedication to the center is exceptional, they go above and beyond to meet your needs. Therapists are so kind and knowledgeable. Front staff are so well organized. This place actually cares and has my trust in leaving my son in good hands. My decision to move here was based off of good reviews and didn’t disappoint. Hoping my honest review helps other parents. My only regret was not finding them sooner.

- P.S.

My oldest son has been going here since he was 3 years old! He’s grown and accomplished so much these pass 5 years! Even my now 4 year old attend therapy there as well for a year and he loved it! The staff has always been so generous and kind. They have always worked around our crazy schedules. A very Great and Welcoming environment for children!

- J.A.

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