Pediatric physical therapy focuses on the treatment of diagnoses specific to the pediatric population.
Therapists who specialize in pediatrics have added expertise and experience in the diagnoses, treatment, and management of pediatric patients.
Though all therapists have the opportunity to work with pediatric patients, those who specialize bring a more advanced skill set to treatment sessions.
Below we take look at common diagnoses, treatment settings, and continuing education opportunities available in pediatric therapy.
Pediatric patients are referred to therapy for a variety of reasons. Some diagnoses more common than others, and some more involved than others.
Common physical therapy diagnoses seen in the pediatric population include:
Pediatric patients include infants, toddlers, and even adolescents. Therapists working with this population have to be able to adapt and alter their treatment plans to appropriately fit the patient.
Employment opportunities are available for therapists in a variety of treatment settings. Pediatric therapy is a wonderful niche that allows for more job choices.
Pediatric physical therapist treatment settings include:
If you are interested in continuing education or pursuing the pediatric PT specialty, you have a few options.
There are many physical therapy continuing education courses are available for pediatrics courses. Continuing education courses can either be home study, on site, or conferences.
Text or course books of study are yet another option for furthering your education.
This a more affordable option and a way to quickly build your home reference library, especially if there is a specific pediatric topic you are interested in.
Becoming a member of the Pediatric Section of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) is another way to stay up to date with the latest in news and research in the pediatric therapy field.
Therapists also have the option of becoming board certified specialists in pediatric therapy.
Becoming a certified specialist in pediatrics does require some level of commitment and completion of minimum requirements prior to even taking the exam.
Therapists must have completed at least 2,000 hours of direct patient care in the last 10 years with at least 500 of those hours occurring in the last 3 years.
An alternative to the hours listed above is the completion of an APTA accredited clinical residency in pediatrics.
Once the minimum requirements are met, the next step is to prepare for and take the board exam. Check out the APTA website to get an exam outline and any helpful examination materials.