4 Questions To Ask Your Child's Physical Therapist

Whether your child has a developmental delay, a medical condition, or an injury, a pediatric physical therapist can help her to reach her greatest potential. Through specialized activities and training designed for the child's body, a PT like those at Peak Physical Therapy of Brooklyn can help your little one to improve movement, build strength and act independently. Before your child starts therapy, finding a PT with the right qualifications, abilities and aptitude to work with children is a must.

When selecting a professional consider the following questions:

1. What kind of training does the PT have? All physical therapists currently entering the field need to complete a doctor of physical therapy (or DPT) degree. This is on top of a bachelor's degree. After completing the educational and clinical components of a DPT program, PTs must be licensed to practice. Pediatric physical therapists typically complete specialized clinical training in pediatrics. This means that they have experience working with children in a physical therapy setting, while under the supervision of a professional.

2. What additional certifications does the PT hold? Pediatric PTs can also become board-certified by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties (ABPTS) in pediatrics. Even though this isn't required to practice therapy with children, it shows that the physical therapist has extra training and the desire to truly commit to pediatrics. The ABPTS notes that pediatric PTs must complete either 2,000 hours of direct work with children or an American Physical Therapy Association (APTA)-accredited post-professional clinical residency. The residency must be specifically in pediatrics. Following the completion of the requirements, the pediatric physical therapist may sit for the ABPTS certification exam.

3. Does the professional use evidence-based practices? According to the APTA, pediatric PTs should adhere to evidence- or research-based practices when working with children. This means that the therapist should connect professional experiences working with children in a clinical setting to the most up-to-date research. Even though you may not know the best current PT practices, you can ask the therapist if she goes to professional conferences, workshops, development sessions or belongs to professional associations. Engaging in these types of activities shows that the PT has a commitment to learning and developing her own practice.

4. What is the physical therapist's philosophy about working with children? Asking this question helps you to get a picture of what the PT may expect from your child, how she works, and the types of therapy she feels are key to your child's success.

Physical therapy provides your child with the opportunity to develop and become more independent. If your child is in need of PT services, understanding what questions to ask the professional can help you to pick the therapist that best matches your family's needs. From certification and specialization to an overall philosophy, understanding the physical therapist's background, values and expectations allows you to feel more comfortable with the pro. 

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