What is Pediatric Physical Therapy?
Pediatric physical therapists and assistants (PTs/ PTAs) work with children and their families to
assist each child in reaching their maximum potential to function independently
and to promote active participation in home, school, and community
environments. Physical therapists use their expertise in movement and
apply clinical reasoning through the process of examination, evaluation,
diagnosis, and intervention. As primary health care providers, PTs also
promote health and wellness as they implement a wide variety of supports
for children from infancy through adolescence in collaboration with their
families and other medical, educational, developmental, and rehabilitation
Pediatric physical therapy promotes independence, increases participation,
facilitates motor development and function, improves strength and endurance,
enhances learning opportunities, and eases challenges with daily
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What to Expect from a Physical Therapist
Physical therapists apply research and proven techniques to help people get back in motion. All physical therapists are required to receive a graduate degree – either a master’s degree or a clinical doctorate — from an accredited physical therapist program before taking the national licensure examination that allows them to practice. State licensure is required in each state in which a physical therapist practices. They are trusted health care professionals with extensive clinical experience who examine, diagnose, and then prevent or treat conditions that limit the body’s ability to move and function in daily life.
Physical therapists provide care for people in a variety of settings, including hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, home health agencies, schools, sports and fitness facilities, work settings, and nursing homes.
Physical therapists diagnose and treat people of all ages, including newborns, children, and elderly individuals. They may consult and practice with other health professionals to help improve mobility and function for their patients.
Partnership in Health
Your physical therapist may choose to team with a physical therapist assistant (PTA), an educated and licensed clinician working under the direction and supervision of the physical therapist, for components of your care. Physical therapists and PTAs are partners in restoring and maintaining motion so that patients can function at their personal best.
What to Expect from a Physical Therapist Assistant
Physical therapist assistants (PTAs) are educated and licensed clinicians that work under the direction and supervision of a physical therapist to improve mobility and help move patients forward.
PTAs must complete rigorous academic and clinical education associate degree programs; pass a national licensure examination; and be licensed or certified by the states in which they work (the exception is Hawaii, where there is no licensure/certification for PTAs).
PTAs work with physical therapists to treat patients of all ages who have medical problems or other conditions that limit their abilities to move and perform functional activities in their daily lives. They work in all settings, including hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, home health agencies, schools, sports and fitness facilities, work settings, and nursing homes.