Benefits of Early Intervention Physical Therapy

Pediatric physical therapist helping a child with activities during early intervention physical therapy

Parents of children with physical developmental delays and difficulties often struggle to find the best way to help their child reach their full potential. One option that many parents are unaware of is pediatric physical therapy. Early intervention physical therapy can provide children with the help they need to improve their strength, coordination, and mobility. By learning more about early intervention physical therapy, you may realize just how beneficial this intervention can be.

Physical Developmental Delays in Early Childhood

There are many different types of physical developmental delays that can occur in early childhood. Some of the more common delays include:

  • Delays in gross motor skills development: This includes delays in abilities such as rolling over, sitting up, crawling, and walking.
  • Delays in fine motor skills development: This includes delays in abilities such as picking up small objects, holding a crayon, and tying shoelaces.
  • Delays in sensory processing: This can manifest as oversensitivity or under-sensitivity to touch, sound, or movement.

While some delays are simply due to a child’s natural rate of development, others may be caused by underlying medical conditions. For example, delays in gross motor skills development can be caused by cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, or Down syndrome.

Early Intervention Physical Therapy

If your child has been diagnosed with a physical developmental delay, your doctor may recommend early intervention treatments such as physical therapy. Physical therapy for developmental delays is catered to the individual needs of your child, but generally involves exercises to improve strength and coordination, therapeutic activities, adaptive equipment recommendations, and parent education and guidance.

Early Intervention Physical Therapy Evaluation

Before starting early intervention physical therapy, your child will undergo a comprehensive evaluation. This evaluation will be conducted by a licensed pediatric physical therapist and will assess your child’s current level of functioning. The therapist will also take into account any underlying medical conditions that may be impacting your child’s development.

Based on the results of the evaluation, the therapist will develop an individualized treatment plan for your child. This treatment plan will outline the specific goals and objectives of physical therapy, as well as the frequency and duration of sessions.

Benefits of Early Intervention Physical Therapy

There are many benefits of early intervention physical therapy for children with physical developmental delays. Some of the potential benefits include:

Improved Gross Motor Skills

With early intervention physical therapy, children can improve their gross motor skills that use large muscle groups like crawling, walking, jumping, and running. It can also help children develop more complex skills like climbing stairs and on playground equipment, skipping, and throwing.

Improved Sensory Processing

For children who have difficulty processing sensory information, early intervention physical therapy can help “retrain” the brain to better process this information. This can lead to a decrease in sensory-related meltdowns and tantrums, and an increase in the ability to participate in daily activities and school.

Improved Social and Emotional Development

Early intervention physical therapy can help children with developmental delays develop the social and emotional skills needed to interact with peers. Children with physical developmental delays and disabilities may become insecure about playing with others. They may also be fearful in situations that require high levels of physical activity due to anxiety about pain or the potential of injury. Physical therapy can help build confidence so they can have positive experiences when playing with others.

Reduced Risk of Future Injuries

Early intervention physical therapy can help children with developmental delays learn how to properly move their bodies and use adaptive equipment. By working with children to improve their strength, flexibility, and coordination, physical therapists can help reduce the risks of falls and other accidents. This allows children to safely participate in sports and other activities.

In-Home Pediatric Physical Therapy by Circle of Care

If your child is struggling with physical developmental delays, Circle of Care can help. We provide in-home physical therapy services for children and adolescents throughout Texas. Our physical therapists create individual treatment plans that are age-appropriate and engaging. Contact us to learn more about our pediatric physical therapy services and schedule a consultation today.