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Understanding Pediatric Physical Therapy

What is Pediatric Physical Therapy?

Pediatric Physical Therapy is a specialized form of physical therapy that focuses on addressing developmental delays and neurological conditions in children. These delays and conditions can impact a child’s motor skills, coordination, balance, and overall physical development.

Physical Therapist, Kerian Duncan, following a treatment with a child to improve her balance.

What is NDT?

Neurodevelopmental physical therapy, also known as NDT, is based on the understanding that the nervous system and motor system are closely interconnected, and that motor development is essential for the overall development of the child. The goal of NDT is to help children develop efficient movement patterns, enhance their sensory awareness, and maximize the child’s movement potential.

Who can benefit from this type of therapy?

Children with a variety of neurological conditions and developmental delays can benefit from NDT. These conditions can include Cerebral Palsy, Down syndrome, Developmental Coordination Disorder, and other conditions that affect motor development. NDT can also be beneficial for children with orthopedic conditions, such as limb deficiencies, spinal cord injuries, and scoliosis.

NDT is a highly individualized form of physical therapy that focuses on addressing the unique needs of each child. During an NDT session, the physical therapist will work with the child to identify their strengths and weaknesses and develop a personalized treatment plan. We will use a variety of techniques and strategies to help the child develop functional movement patterns, including facilitation, inhibition, and strengthening exercises.

One of the core principles of NDT is the use of functional activities to help the child develop their gross motor skills. This means that the therapist will use activities that are meaningful and relevant to the child’s daily life to help them improve their motor skills. For example, if a child is having difficulty with balance and coordination, the therapist may use games that involve balancing on one foot or throwing and catching a ball to help the child develop these skills.

NDT and the use of Sensory Integration Techniques

Sensory integration is the process by which the brain organizes and interprets sensory information from the environment. Children with neurological conditions and developmental delays often have difficulty with sensory integration, which can impact their motor development. NDT therapists use sensory integration techniques to help children develop better sensory processing skills, which can lead to improved motor skills.

Overall Benefits of Neurodevelopmental Physical Therapy

Some of the benefits of NDT physical therapy include:

  • Enhanced sensory awareness and processing
  • Improved motor function and coordination
  • Improved balance and postural control
  • Promote independence in daily activities
  • Reduce the risk of secondary complications from orthopedic conditions
  • Improve quality of life for children and their families
  • Address the underlying causes of developmental delays and neurological conditions
  • Helps children reach their full movement potential
  • Improved academic performance and social skills

Neurodevelopmental physical therapy is a specialized form of physical therapy that can be highly beneficial for children with neurological conditions and developmental delays. If you believe that your child could benefit from NDT, don’t hesitate to reach out to a pediatric physical therapist for an evaluation.

If you’re interested in learning more about neurodevelopmental physical therapy or would like to schedule a free consultation with me, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Together, we can work towards ensuring that your child reaches their full potential.

In addition to in-person therapy sessions, we will also provide parents with exercises and activities to do with their child at home. These activities can help reinforce the skills learned during therapy sessions and promote continued progress.

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