Definition: Physical Therapy focuses on gross motor skills like walking, kicking, jumping, and climbing stairs. For adults, that might mean re-learning skills lost due to illness or injury; for children, it generally involves pursuing developmental milestones that have been delayed for any number of reasons. Physical therapists working with children typically use techniques and routines that may seem like play, but are designed to target areas of delay and difficulty. You may see your child riding on a scooter, walking on a balance beam, crawling through a tunnel, swinging from a trapeze, perching atop a large ball, riding on a swing, catching and throwing, and doing other fun things that help to stretch, strengthen, reinforce, and push in a non-threatening way. Although therapy with a sensory integration approach is most often practiced by occupational therapists, some physical therapists -- mindful of the way that sensory integration dysfunction may interfere with the pursuit of gross-motor goals -- may integrate those techniques into physical therapy as well.
Also Known As: PT