A Q&A with of our Physical Therapists, Brittany
Q: What is Pediatric Physical Therapy?
A: My role as a Pediatric Physical Therapist is to help your child gain independence and
freedom with their movement. This can look different for each child. Pediatric Physical
Therapy can help your little one gain strength, improve balance and coordination,
increase range of motion, walk with proper mechanics, learn how to utilize an assistive
device or wheelchair, achieve and build confidence with age-appropriate gross motor
milestones, and so much more!
Q: What are some common diagnoses that you treat and how do I know if my child
A: Some of the common diagnosis I treat include developmental/gross motor delay, cerebral
palsy, genetic disorders, autism, down syndrome, toe-walking, and more. However, as
therapists we aim to treat a child as whole, rather than focusing in on a diagnosis. Your
child may benefit from physical therapy if he/she:
o Is not meeting or lacks confidence with age-appropriate gross motor milestones
o Has poor balance or coordination
o Has low muscle tone or strength
o Demonstrates poor posture
o Lacks proper gait (walking) mechanics (i.e. toe walking, in/out-toeing, etc.)
o Is W-sitting
o Has decreased endurance or activity tolerance
Q: What does a typical day look like for you?
A: One aspect I love about my job is that each day is different! I see patients in the Hudson
clinic as well in five different school buildings, so my days can get a bit crazy! However,
I tend to begin each morning by getting organized, doing paperwork, and planning out
my day. I also like to collaborate and touch base with other therapists and staff members
in the morning before the day gets too busy! Once it’s time to start seeing kids, you may
have a tricky time tracking me down! In the schools I get to provide therapy interventions
within classrooms, during gym class, on the playground, in the therapy room and more!
In the clinic, you can find me in the large therapy gym at the rock wall, swing,
slide, stairs, and endless gross motor equipment! In between treatment sessions, I try to
sneak in as much documentation as I can (something people may not know about
physical therapists is that we usually have quite a bit of paperwork on our plates). I also
typically have a few meetings each week to prepare for and work into my schedule. After
all that, the day usually goes by pretty quick. I tend to end my days by wrapping up
documentation, getting a head-start on upcoming paperwork, and brainstorming fun
games and activities for the kids!
Q: How long are treatment sessions?
A: In the outpatient setting, treatment sessions are typically 30-60 minutes long. Ultimately,
the length of a treatment session depends on the needs of your child.
Q: What advice would you give to a parent inquiring about improving balance with their children?
A: There are so many fun ways to help improve your child’s balance! Below are some of my
o Obstacle Course: Walking over couch cushions/pillows, jumping over objects,
tip-toeing across a line of tape, etc.
o Yoga: Trying new yoga poses is a great way to not only relax but to also work on
your balance. CosmicKidsYoga on Youtube is one of my favorite resources for
fun yoga videos for kids.
o Animal Elevators: Place a stuffed animal on top of your child’s foot and have
them lift that foot to take the animal on an elevator ride into a bucket.
o Standing on One Foot: I love to encourage parents to have their child practice
standing on one leg when they brush their teeth – it is a short time commitment
and something they already do every day! The child can use their free hand for
support on the bathroom sink/counter as they practice.
Q: What do parents need to know about W-Sitting?
A: W-sitting is when a child sits on the floor with their legs splayed out in the shape of a
“W”. W-sitting is common in children because it provides them a wider base of support
and doesn’t require much work on their part. However, this sitting position places a lot of
stress on the hips and knees, limits trunk rotation, decreases core activation and strength,
and can lead to in-toeing.
Q: What is toe walking and when is it a concern?
A: There are several reasons why your child may be walking on their toes (idiopathic,
sensory processing disorders, or tight muscles). It is also not uncommon to see babies and
toddlers walk on their tip toes when they are first learning how to walk. However, if your
child is walking on their toes after 2 years of age, it may be a good idea to have them
evaluated by a physical therapist. Toe-walking can result in tight muscles on the back of
the leg, decreased range of motion, affect the alignment of the pelvis, and increase your
child’s risk for tripping and falling.