Who is a pediatric physiotherapist?

A pediatric physiotherapist is a physiotherapist that is obtained a 4-year degree in physiotherapy and rehabilitation and specialized in physiotherapy and rehabilitation for children. Pediatric physiotherapists are experienced in the treatment of various congenital, developmental and acquired disorders and diseases of the musculoskeletal system in infants, children and adolescents. Pediatric physiotherapy aims to improve the integration of the cognitive and sensorial processes as well as to enhance the balance and coordination of rough motor skills, strength and endurance.

Pediatric physiotherapists are interested in child's growth and development and the chronological process of the improvement of the neuromuscular system and motor skills in addition to the general physiotherapy knowledge. They are involved in the physical therapy and rehabilitation of the problems that may cause a deviation in normal growth of pediatric patients. A pediatric physiotherapist engages in the evaluation, prognosis and treatment of the children that suffer from any disease, disorder or trauma-related functional limitation or disability that may arise from birth to adolescence. Pediatric rehabilitation requires a team-based approach for the disabilities and the handicaps induced by a physical, mental, and cognitive impairment or sensory-perception disturbance resulting from prenatal, natal or postnatal causes. Pediatric physiotherapists determine the appropriate physiotherapy approaches for the neurological deficits that may negatively affect the physical and mental development in the prenatal, natal or postnatal periods; prepare the appropriate physiotherapy programs and work on education programs for families. Additionally, they carry out preoperative and postoperative examination and physiotherapy activities. A pediatric physiotherapist facilitates the diagnosis of early period health problems and uses various treatment modalities to cure pediatric disorders.

Consequently, a pediatric physiotherapist help disabled/ handicapped children gain the best possible physical performance in daily life activities. For this reason, s/he deals with age-appropriate developmental stages (e.g. crawling, sitting, standing and walking) and help children gain age-appropriate rough motor skills and better participate in school activities as much as their peers do; and develop independent function considering movement amplitude, strength, mobility, posture, balance and endurance.

The main problems, which pediatric physiotherapist most frequently deal with, are as follows:

• Cerebral Palsy
• Risky babies
• Spina bifida
• Obstetrical brachial plexus injuries
• Down syndrome
• Congenital muscular torticollis
• Subacute sclerosing panencephalitis
• Gullian-barre syndrome
• Traumatic CVS injuries
• Developmental problems
• Hydrocephalia
• Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis
• Hemophilia
• Scoliosis
• Osteogenesis imperfecta
• Muscular dystrophy
• Acquired pathologies (head trauma, spinal cord injury and cancer)
• Genetic and metabolic diseases
• Conversion disorder
• Genetic diseases that cause abnormal development or disability
• Mental developmental problems
• Rett syndrome
• Congenital extremity defects
• Handicaps occurring after childhood traumas
• Various pediatric neurological problems (including rare conditions)
• Patients hospitalized in the Oncology and Pediatric units