"Pediatrics is concerned with the health of
infants, children and adolescents, their
growth and development, and their
opportunity to achieve full potential as
adults." (Richard E.Behrman in Nelson's
Textbook of Pediatrics)
Pediatrics became a medical specialty in the
mid-19th century. Before that time the care
and treatment of childhood diseases was
included within such areas as general
medicine and obstetrics (and midwifery).
These therapists are specialized in the diagnosis,
treatment, and management of infants, children,
and adolescents with a variety of congenital,
developmental, neuromuscular, skeletal, or
acquired disorders/diseases. Treatments focus
on improving gross and fine motor skills, balance
and coordination, strength and endurance as well
as cognitive and sensory processing/integration.
Most therapy is incorporated into play utilizing
toys such as: therapy balls, various swings, and
riding toys to improve strength, balance and
Teach children to use assistive devices
including walkers, wheelchairs, or crutches.
Assess the need for braces or orthotics and
perform evaluations for adaptive equipment.
Work on many different muscle strengthening
Other typical physical therapy treatments.
◦ Cerebral Palsy - a disability resulting from damage to the
brain before, during, or shortly after birth and outwardly
manifested by muscular incoordination and speech
◦ Spina Bifida - a congenital cleft of the spinal column with
hernial protrusion of the meninges and sometimes the
◦ Muscular Dystrophy - any of a group of hereditary
diseases characterized by progressive wasting of muscles.
◦ Traumatic Brain Injury - a non-degenerative, non-
congenital insult to the brain from an external mechanical
force, possibly leading to permanent or temporary
impairment of cognitive, physical, and psychosocial
functions, with an associated diminished or altered state of
◦ Shaken Baby Syndrome - injuries, particularly to the
head, caused by violently shaking an infant which can cause
brain damage, visual problems, psychological
consequences and learning difficulties.
◦ Fetal Alcohol Syndrome - the sum total of the damage
done to the child before birth as a result of the mother
drinking alcohol during pregnancy. Fetal alcohol syndrome
(FAS) always involves brain damage, impaired growth, and
head and face abnormalities.
◦ Down Syndrome - common chromosome disorder due to
an extra chromosome number 21 that causes mental
retardation, a characteristic face, and multiple
malformations and affects both the physical and intellectual
development of the individual.
◦ Developmental delays – children behind schedule in
reaching milestones of early childhood development.
◦ Scoliosis - a lateral curvature of the spine.
◦ Autism - a spectrum of neuropsychiatric disorders
characterized by deficits in social interaction and
communication, and unusual and repetitive behavior. Some,
but not all, people with autism are non-verbal.
◦ Sports Injuries – injuries such as sprained knees, ankles,
wrists, ect. Any injury that would require surgery.
◦ Asthma - common disorder in which chronic inflammation
of the bronchial tubes makes them swell, narrowing the
airways. Asthma involves only the bronchial tubes and does
not affect the air sacs or the lung tissue itself.
◦ Other congenital defects
◦ Other types of traumatic injuries, such as those
from car accidents or household accidents
Only about 2.5% of PTA’s work in a school
A PTA working in a school setting may not
make as much as they would in another
setting, however the benefits are sometimes
better. The PTA would get good healthcare
and the same vacations as the students.
There is no information for specialized
certifications for PTA’s but there is for PT’s.
It is not a requirement. All special
certifications are voluntary.
There is a test to be taken in order to be
certified in your specialty.
O’Shea, Roberta (Sept 2008) Pediatrics for the
Physical Therapist Assistant. SAUNDERS
Inverarity, Laura (Nov 28, 2007) Types of
Physical Therapy. Retrieved Nov 11, 2009
www.medterms.com (for all medical