Parents and caregivers are an important link for Riley at IU Health physical therapists that treat sick or injured children. Whether we meet because of your child’s isolated injury or an ongoing health condition, we start with two clear goals: 1) to build strong relationships with your family and 2) to help your child achieve optimal health through physical therapy.
We evaluate and treat children who have a wide variety of conditions, including:
- Cerebral palsy
- Chronic pain
- Cystic fibrosis
- Developmental delay
- Neuromuscular disorders e.g., muscular dystrophy, brain tumors and seizure disorders
- Orthopedic injuries
- Spina bifida
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
Our highly trained physical therapists use the latest research and proven techniques to help Indiana’s children recover or thrive in all kinds of health circumstances. We meet families in one of three ways:
- Hospital acute care
- A rehabilitation unit stay
- Outpatient services
The frequency of your child’s physical therapy is determined by his or her impairments and point of care. If your child is in the hospital for acute care, your physical therapist recommends a plan based on needs identified during his or her stay. Rehabilitation stays are intense, with therapy scheduled twice a day to help your child reach their maximum potential and return safely to home and school. Outpatient therapy may vary between once every other week to three times a week, depending on your child’s goals and his or her rate of progress toward them.
When you choose Riley at IU Health, your child gains access to a talented team of professionals who work together toward improving his or her health. Our physical therapists are part of a comprehensive team that carefully coordinates each child’s care.
We work in close collaboration with experts who share our devotion to your child’s wellness, including physiatrists, doctors, nurses, speech therapists, recreational therapists, child life, music and art therapists, social workers, school specialists, audiologists, occupational therapists and other specialists who are part of Riley at IU Health.
What to Expect
What to Expect
We begin with a thorough, family-centered assessment of your child. As part of our evaluation, we spend time with parents and caregivers to gather information about each child’s background, including important facts such as:
- How your child functions at home
- What personal goals your child has
- What goals you have for your child
- Your child’s sleep patterns
- The physical characteristics of your home
- How and where your child spends most of his or her time
Our therapists combine this information with various tools that help us evaluate your child in several areas, including:
- Range of motion
- Muscle strength and tone
- Developmental skills
- Gait skills
Once we finish our assessment, we develop a treatment plan that defines primary goals. If your child needs anything to function properly in physical therapy, we arrange these resources at the start. This may involve other areas of expertise, including people who can address such things as wheelchair positioning, equipment for your home and referrals to community resources.
In many cases, your child’s recovery depends on what happens in his or her daily life after leaving the hospital, rehabilitation care or outpatient physical therapy. To support your child’s development and recovery, we train parents and caregivers to help children learn new skills, improve strength and reach developmental milestones at home.
As a service to families, we can evaluate your home and make recommendations to help you adapt it to your child’s needs. We can also help you identify and acquire any equipment your child may need to function at home.
Some children have ongoing impairments or conditions that keep us in close contact with families as their children develop. Through continued physical therapy and assessment, we can help these children make progress toward recovery and mobility. We are a resource to help you stay informed about any changes in your child’s condition, perceived developmental delays or gross motor abilities.
As your child grows, his or her needs may change. It may be necessary to adjust treatment plans according to those changes. Since you know your child best, you are a crucial part of adapting new plans and appraising your child’s progress toward each developmental milestone.
Our physical therapists are prepared to answer questions and support your child through each stage of development, from learning to roll over as an infant, to helping school-age children develop the strength they need to enjoy floor time with their peers.
Daily physical therapy routines at home can be challenging at times. Our therapists can suggest ways you can help your child meet those challenges and reach his/her goals. We also share insights that can help you prepare for regular follow-up visits with pediatricians and other specialists by observing aspects of your child’s growth and development.
Key Points to Remember
Key Points to Remember
- You are an integral part of your child’s physical therapy.
- Physical therapy may be used to treat an isolated illness or it may be part of your child’s life for an ongoing condition.
- We provide support to parents and caregivers to help them coach children through physical therapy at home.
- Physical therapy is just one part of your child’s care, and at Riley at IU Health, it will be coordinated carefully in concert with other needs.
- The frequency of your child’s physical therapy depends on his or her condition and goals set by a physical therapist with input from parents and caregivers.
Riley at IU Health physical therapists use evidence-based techniques informed by research, including collaborative studies with the Indiana University School of Health and Human Sciences. Our dedication to professional growth and development brings the latest equipment and research to families who choose Riley at IU Health for their child’s healthcare.
Support Services & Resources
Support Services & Resources
Riley at IU Health offers a broad range of supportive services to make life better for families who choose us for their children's care.
This National Institutes of Health website includes links to health resources that explain how physical therapy can be part of rehabilitation and recovery for many health conditions.
This website provides information to the public about physical therapy and wellness. It is supported by the American Physical Therapy Association, an organization that advances professional development and education for physical therapists.
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