Pediatric rehabilitation is a discipline that deals with childhood diseases such as cerebral palsy, spina bifida, brachial plexus injury, muscular dystrophy, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord paralysis, and aims to eliminate the child's physical, functional, cognitive, psychosocial limitations or to realize their highest potential. . Rehabilitation of children from infancy to the age of 18 is covered under the title of pediatric rehabilitation.
Each age is unique, as infancy and childhood include growth and development. Disorders in adulthood involve the loss of existing functions, and physical therapy aims to restore them. However, since some diseases in childhood affect the development of skills that have not yet been acquired, treatment requires different approaches. The physical capacity of the child expected at a certain age should be mastered, and deficiencies and differences from normal should be determined with a holistic examination. In addition, different communication techniques are used for treatment on the basis of the child's mental understanding and psychology.
Who Performs Pediatric Rehabilitation?
Pediatric rehabilitation is a team effort. This team consists of health professionals such as physical therapy and rehabilitation specialist, physiotherapist, rehabilitation nurse, occupational therapist, speech therapist, orthotics-prosthetic technician. Many departments such as child health and diseases, pediatric neurology, child mental health, orthopedics and traumatology, neurosurgery, plastic and reconstructive surgery are included in the team according to the nature of the disorder.
What Diseases Does Pediatric Rehabilitation Deal With?
Diseases that affect the child, congenital or developing and need rehabilitation are within the scope of pediatric rehabilitation:
Most of the disorders that are of interest to pediatric rehabilitation are chronic, and the problems may persist for a lifetime. Physical therapy starts from the first years of life and continues even in adulthood, spreading over time. In fact, the family is at the center of this process, and obtaining the best results depends on the state policy that ensures the integration of the disabled child into school and social life, as well as the rehabilitation team.
What is done in Pediatric Rehabilitation?
Physical therapy: Physiotherapists take care of the child one-on-one and give them exercises to increase movement skills accompanied by gamification. These exercises are performed for goals such as opening the joint limitation, strengthening the muscles, improving the sense of body position, increasing the balance, and correcting the walking style.
Occupational therapy: Exercises and therapies for daily living activities are applied in order for the child to gain independence in home and school life. Training is provided for the use of assistive devices.
Speech therapy: Therapies aimed at improving these skills are applied in children with speech or communication difficulties. In addition, swallowing and feeding problems can be treated for them.
Sports activities: Sports activities that disabled children can participate in provide both physical and psychological benefits. With the evaluation and guidance of the doctor, participation in appropriate sports activities for disabled individuals in public institutions such as schools or municipalities should be ensured.