Senior Project Paper


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Senior Project Paper

  1. 1. Post 1Claire PostMrs. TilleyAP Literature16 November 2010 The Field of Pediatric Physical Therapy Physical therapy as a whole is diagnosing an individual with their own specific problems andissues, and then as a result developing a work plan to in the long run improve each individual’smobility or maintain what should be proper body function. Pediatric physical therapy is just onefield within the wide range of all therapy that is provided to the individuals in need. Pediatricphysical therapy specifically deals with children sometimes referred to as “peds” aging frominfants to the pre-teen stage. Physical therapist all work in many different environmentsdepending on each of their chosen specialization and field of practice. However, this was notalways true .Physical therapy was not always a well-known and accepted medical treatment.Physical therapy has made a complete U-turn from what it was to what it now has become. Additionally, the overall goal of a pediatric physical therapist is to improve the mobility oftheir patient through sessions, and to work on developing the skills that the individual will needto become the most independent person they possibly could be. However, in many circumstancesthe patient is not in need of improvement of their mobility and motor skills, simply because theywill never be solely independent and will always need assistance no matter the deed or task athand might be. Therefore, then the role of the therapist changes to rather maintaining the limitedmobility that the patient does have and developing a plan with not only the patient but also withthe family to prevent further problems, and or moving backwards on the progress that has beenmade. Whether the child is gaining mobility or maintaining what mobility they currently are at
  2. 2. Post 2the sessions in which they attend weekly or by weekly, may be all implementing what mightconsidered simple tasks, into becoming what is functional for the child. Therapists evaluate eachchild and vary what exercises each child will do to best benefit them. A task as simple asbuilding a track for a marble to roll down can implement hand mobility along with fingermovement. Through personal experience, I observed in on a physical therapy session in which ayoung girl diagnosed spina bifida, a disease in which you are paralyzed from the waist down andcannot walk independently. I watched the young girl build the track; walk with the support ofbraces, crutches, and the therapist in order to pick out the pieces that she needed. She eventuallybuilt the tower in the end that she was more than proud of. What the young girl did not know isthat she was working on her hand manipulation and rather she thought she was just playing withher friend. That is when you know a therapist is doing her job correctly. In the same way, the overall goal of therapy is to gain mobility and or maintain what iscurrently there, but therapy in the long run does much more for the child. Therapy sessionspromote growth and strength of the individual, ease in the care giving process for the family andor whoever is involved with the child, improves their development, and also gives them theopportunity to succeed in which they would not have had before. Pediatric physical therapist useexercises in the final goal of reaching tone management, motor learning, coordination andbalance, and overall an independent individual. In the case of a therapist working to maintaincurrent mobility of a patient the need of prosthetics and or orthotics will be required dependingon the severity of the child. Prosthetics and orthotics are braces and or the support needed that is lacking in the child. Bothdevices aid in the physical activities that are done in the sessions and also on a day to day basissuch as walking or balance. A child would not be able to complete these tasks without the
  3. 3. Post 3support of prosthetics and or orthotics. Both prosthetics and orthotics are cut and designeddepending on the child in which is in need of the device. For example, one child may not needtheir device to encompass their entire leg where as the next child may need a full device tomaintain his/her proper balance. All is depending upon each child’s development and bodystructure. Moreover, once a new device is received and the child had begun to use it the therapisthas to watch for marks and or abrasions that the supports may be causing on the child. Thedifference between a child that is allowed the privilege of using a prosthetic or orthotic and achild who does not have access to them, can be the difference between a child who will overtime be able to walk with the support of braces and a crutch perhaps, compared to a child neverbeing able to walk because the proper devices were not provided. All in all, prosthetics andorthotics can majorly aid in the developmental process as a whole. Furthermore, when a child is required to attend physical therapy session it does not have toonly be because of a developmental issue they were born with as an infant. Children go tophysical therapy for something as simple as being injured in a sport and needing to regain themuscle strength required to again partake in the event. The overall goal of the therapist stillremains the same which is to aid in the development of the child and work with them inregaining their previous mobility in which they once had. Whether it is though exercises orteaching a child with a broken leg how to properly use their crutches, all are part of the physicaltherapy process. Moreover, through my research and the observations that I have made from the sessions Ihave sat in on, a large percentage of the children who see a pediatric physical therapist haveCerebral Palsy. Cerebral Palsy has to do with brain and muscle development. A child might to beable to properly communicate, walk, or do many other functional activities, all depending on the
  4. 4. Post 4personal diagnosis. Children with this disease are born with it and it something that they willface their whole life; therefore, physical therapy is necessary for each child to be able to live as“normal” a life as possible. Similarly, there are many different types of physical therapists that specialize in manydifferent areas, and as a result of the different specializations each therapist works in a differentenvironment depending upon their chosen path. Some therapist may work in hospitals, othersmay work in outpatient clinics, and others may work in the school system. Therapists that chooseto work in the hospital setting generally have the more severe hands on job such as a patientrecovering from a severe injury and having just been treated for an injury. On the other hand, atherapist who works in an outpatient clinic works with children who very well could be the samechildren that received previous therapy in the hospital, but are just further along in their recoveryprocess and are working on regaining their full body potential. As previously mentioned, a childwho was injured in a sporting event and a child with Cerebral Palsy could very well likely attendthe same clinic, but see different therapist. Different therapists each specialize in different fields.Although they are all classified as pediatric physical therapist they are not at all the same. Thisspecialization could just be simply because of the patients that they have or because of personaltaste and preferences. All in all, the therapy required and the therapist best suited to fulfill thoseneeds is all different. Moreover, when a child attends physical therapy sessions it is not at a short process. Thetherapist provides the child with care and therapeutic exercises during the sessions, along withexercises and activities that must be done at home. After time has passed and the patient has beenworking with an individual therapist a re-evaluation is required. Upon a patient first beginningpediatric physical therapy sessions they were first evaluated to see what movement they had and
  5. 5. Post 5the overall goal of the patient in the end. Thus, after time has passed and the therapist has hadtime to work with the patient, the individual gets re-evaluated. As a result, the progress madecould be positive or negative, but in the long run the overall goal is very likely to change for thechild. All in all, pediatric physical therapy is diagnosing an individual with current problems thatthey are faced with and working on a plan to in the end help the child in the long run. Therapistcreate work plans and therapeutic exercises in order to achieve this goal, and in the end workside by side not only with the patient but also with the family in gaining the maximum mobilityfor each of their patients. The working environment of each pediatric physical therapist variesdepending on their individual field of specialization, but the overall goal of each therapistremains the same, gaining the full potential of the child and helping to improve the skills theyalready have and also develop new motor and physical mobility that will better each patient as aperson in life. In conclusion, therapy is necessary for many people around the world, and can aidin the physical development of many.