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Physical Therapy: Frequently Asked Questions

Is there an average timeline for how long my child will be in therapy? Diagnosis specific.

In most cases, there is not a specific timeline we are following as necessity of skilled therapy is multifactorial based upon child’s age, diagnosis, readiness for change, environment, and nature of family specific goals. Instead, we follow the lead of the family and child allowing for response to treatment to determine timeline. This may include meeting of set goals and reaching maximize potential at that time, plateau in skills or progress, prolonged time in skilled therapy with need to expand into other arenas, or change in family priorities. For some diagnoses, such as torticollis or rehabilitation from a surgery or injury, timelines are more known. However, we also meet the family and child on their terms and needs.

What is the youngest and oldest ages of child that is seen by PT at APT?

Physical therapists see children from newborns to adulthood. At APT we specialize in pediatric therapy services, which means infancy to 21yr old. However, we do not stop seeing patients just because they age beyond 21 years if we as a team including therapist, patient, and caregivers decide that APT’s area of specialty and clinics are the best to serve the needs of the patient. This means we also treat adults with chronic developmental disabilities such as Down Syndrome, autism, and cerebral palsy.

What’s the difference between OT and PT?

This can be difficult to separate as OT and PT can overlap in some instances. Physical therapy is focused on understanding and improving movement disfunction to promote safety, performance, and independence with physical activities to advance children’s ability to access their environment. This means addressing areas of strength, coordination, motor control, balance, range of motion, and posture for improvements in functional gross motor skill performance and participation in daily life.

Occupational therapy focuses on the specific skills needed to participate in age-appropriate tasks, known as occupations, or activities of daily living. While these skill areas can include gross motor skills as it relates to a child’s ability to participate in age-appropriate play, it can also include fine motor tasks such as handwriting or using utensils as well as cognitive tasks such as dressing, feeding, following multistep directions, or regulating emotions in order to engage with others and within various environments.