Pediatric phyiscal therapists use exercises, many in the form of play, to treat a wide variety of conditions, including those that affect development, motor skills, strength, coordination, and overall health.
Physical therapists are instructed in a generalized program to treat across the lifespan but can specialize within particular populations, for example, the pediatric population ranges from infancy through adolescence. Pediatric physical therapists work with individuals with childhood onset conditions that limit their ability to move or function in their daily life. Conditions treated include torticollis, developmental coordination disorder, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, impaired gait, hypo/hypertonia, and other gross motor delays and deficits. Pediatric physical therapists apply their expertise in movement science, neuromuscular/musculoskeletal systems, and clinical reasoning to develop an individualized program for the child.
A pediatric physical therapist not only works with the child, but also with the family to promote the child’s ability to function independently and participate actively in home, school, and community environments. Physical therapy services are provided to improve mobility, develop or restore function, alleviate pain, prevent or decrease permanent physical disabilities, and promote overall health and wellness. The family can assist with the child’s individual program by performing proper positioning for the child during daily routines and activities, adapting toys for play, facilitating safety for the home and community, and providing information on the child’s physical and health care needs.
Our physical therapists evaluate and treat children with a broad range of pediatric conditions and injuries, including:
Brain, spinal cord and nerve injuries
Congenital disorders and deformities
Gross motor and movement dysfunction
Motor vehicle accidents and injuries
Musculoskeletal injuries to bones, joints, muscles and tendons
Sports injuries and concussions
Speech therapy treats more than just words. Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) work to prevent, assess, diagnose, and treat speech, language, social communication, cognitive-communication, and swallowing disorders in children and adults. In addition to evaluating, diagnosing, and treating a full range of communication and swallowing disorders, SLPs provide:
training and education to family, caregivers, and other professionals.
aural rehabilitation for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing.
augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) systems for individuals with severe expressive and/or language comprehension disorders, such as autism spectrum disorder or progressive neurological disorders.
Social communication disorders occur when a person has trouble with the social use of verbal and nonverbal communication. These disorders may include problems communication for social purposes, talking in different ways to suit the listener and setting, and following rules for conversation and storytelling. All individuals with autism spectrum disorder have social communication problems. Social communication disorders are also found in individuals with other conditions, such as traumatic brain injury. Cognitive-communication disorders include:
These disorders usually happen as a result of a stroke, traumatic brain injury, or dementia, although they can be congenital.
Swallowing disorders (dysphagia) are feeding and swallowing difficulties, which may follow an illness, surgery, stroke, or injury.
Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) are professionals who are trained to evaluate, diagnose, and treat a variety of speech and language disorders. They also assess and treat individuals who have challenges with feeding/swallowing. SLPs have a minimum of a master’s degree and are often accredited by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). Pediatric therapy involves children ranging from infancy through 17 years of age.
Occupation refers to activities that support the health, well-being, and development of an individual ( American Occupational Therapy Association, 2014).
Pediatric occupational therapists work with children to promote active participation in school, play, or self-care activities and to develop age appropriate social skills. By meeting developmental milestones in various areas of their lives, children are better able to participate in meaningful occupations that will help develop life skills, allow them to learn, be creative, and thrive.
Occupational therapists are trained to assess the child and identify barriers to optimal functioning. Recommended interventions consist of age appropriate activities to promote the child’s strengths and facilitate improvement in their individual areas of difficulty; and are based on comprehensive knowledge of typical child development, the child’s natural environments, and the impact of disability and developmental delay on the child’s functional performance. Each child responds differently to therapy, and our skilled occupational therapists use their expertise to create and continuously modify a customized treatment plan to facilitate optimal functional performance for that child.
Parents seek occupational therapy for their children (infant through age 17) for a variety of reasons, challenges, and diagnoses including but not limited to:
Fine motor and gross motor deficits
Autism spectrum disorders
Sensory processing challenges
Feeding, grooming, and self care challenges
Challenges attending and learning new information
400 Sequoia Dr Suite 120
Bellingham, WA 98226
Kornerstone Kids is a non-profit pediatric therapy practice based in Whatcom County. Our mission is to provide the best patient care and customer service available with a commitment to both culture and community. We are passionate about our professions and have compassion for the children we serve.