10% Off*, Code HPHS10 | $50 Off $250*, Code HP50

Online since 2002 |   866-316-0162

Articles and News

Pediatric Physical Therapy Techniques and Approaches for Kids

Pediatric Physical Therapy Techniques and Approaches for Kids
Kevin Cleary

Children with various conditions, including developmental delays, cerebral palsy, or even genetic disorders, can benefit from pediatric physical therapy to improve motor skills, balance, coordination, and strength. Children’s physical rehabilitation is a specialized therapy for kids that helps them improve their mobility and movement.

A pediatric physical therapist can work with children to learn new skills and overcome physical challenges that can negatively affect overall function and quality of life. The importance of early intervention and the role of parents/caregivers improves children’s progress. 

What Exactly Is Pediatric Physical Therapy? 

We have all heard the term physical therapy, but what is pediatric physical therapy? Basically, it is pediatric physical therapy techniques designed for infants, children, and adolescents that can improve their ability to function in everyday activities. This specialized therapy for kids can benefit children with: 

  • Developmental delays (autism, etc.) 
  • Injuries 
  • Disabilities 
  • Illnesses 

This subspecialty of physical therapy enhances a child’s mobility, allowing them to improve their strength and flexibility. This can lead to a greater range of motion and relief from pain/discomfort. Pediatric physical therapy techniques can be a critical part of an early intervention plan for children with developmental delays. This helps children become more self-reliant and improve their quality of life.

How does it help the child?

A child can benefit from pediatric physical therapy for conditions such as: 

Pediatric Rehabilitation Methods 

So, what techniques or methods do pediatric physical therapists use? Not only do these physical therapists improve your child’s physical health, but they can also help with mental/social development. The inability to participate in everyday activities with their peers or friends can often lead to children with disabilities feeling isolated, frustrated, and lonely. This therapy uses age-appropriate interventions to help develop, maintain, and improve physical abilities. The 5 steps the therapist takes include: 

  1. Assessment: Your child’s physical abilities and limitations will first be assessed by your pediatric therapist. Their range of motion, strength, balance, and coordination will all be determined to see the effect on their movement and function. 
  2. Goalsetting: After this assessment, your therapist will work with your child and family to set goals for your child’s therapy. This can range from increasing mobility/strength, improving balance/coordination, or even just pain reduction. 
  3. Treatment: Your therapist will tailor any therapy plan to your child. This can include exercises, stretches, massages, or heat/cold therapy
  4. Home exercise program: After a plan is established for in-person therapy, your therapist will provide you with a home exercise program to supplement any in-clinic program. This can help your child progress when they are outside of clinical therapy. 
  5. Education/Collaboration: Your pediatric therapist will educate your child/family on how to avoid future injury and consult occupational and speech therapists and your physician to ensure your child receives the comprehensive and complete care they deserve. 

10 Examples of Pediatric Physical Therapy Techniques and Exercises 

Your pediatric therapist has specific techniques and exercises that are targeted specifically to children with physical or developmental disabilities. Some pediatric physical therapy techniques are: 

1. Gait Training

It helps children improve their ability to walk. Therapists may use a variety of mobility aids, such as walkers, pediatric gait trainers, or crutches, to improve rehabilitation. It focuses on enhancing stride, balance, and overall walking behavior, allowing them to gain independence.

2. Balance/Coordination Training

Balance and coordination are important for children in walking, running, and playing. Children with disorders like cerebral palsy can benefit from walking on the balance beam or standing on one leg. These exercises help in building strength while preventing falls.

3. Strength training

Pediatric physical therapy includes strength training to enhance muscle strength, particularly in children with physical limitations. This method involves exercises and activities to target upper body muscles essential for basic movements such as pulling themselves up or sitting upright. It can significantly improve their functional abilities.

4. Range of motion

Improving flexibility in joints and muscles is essential for children's overall well-being. Range of motion exercises aim to increase flexibility, helping children in their everyday activities and reducing the risk of musculoskeletal problems. It is especially crucial for children with conditions affecting joint mobility.

5. Cardiovascular training

It involves aerobic exercises to improve lung function and overall endurance. Children with conditions like cystic fibrosis can benefit from these exercises, which increase lung capacity and improve overall fitness, making everyday activities easier.

6. Neuromuscular reeducation

Neuromuscular reeducation teaches children how to move and function within their specific environment. It is vital for children with neurological conditions and aids in developing neuromuscular control, critical for managing cerebral palsy, stroke, or traumatic brain injuries.

7. Sensory integration therapy

Autism can perturb sensory abilities. This therapy helps children learn how to respond appropriately to sensory stimuli. It includes using various activities to improve their abilities to process and react to sensory information for better self-regulation and behavior.

8. Aquatic therapy

As the name suggests, it uses the natural buoyancy of water and resistance for rehabilitation treatment. It is an effective way to minimize the impact on joints while improving muscle strength and mobility. Water-based exercises are particularly beneficial for children with cerebral palsy or musculoskeletal issues.

9. Assistive technology

It encompasses various tools and devices to help children with physical or developmental delays perform routine tasks. These devices can range from mobility aids to communication devices. Such devices allow the children to access education and interact more efficiently with their surroundings.

10. Play therapy

This one is fun. It is an interesting and engaging way to promote development in children. These can improve their motor, communication, and social skills through physical activities, social interactions, and play. It fosters a positive environment where children can learn while enjoying themselves.

Products for Pediatric Physical Therapy


These pediatric physical therapy techniques have been proven to be highly effective for children needing early intervention therapy or after injury of all ages. They can improve gross motor skills, flexibility, balance, better posture, and overall improved fitness/health and quality of life. 


Disclaimer: All content found on our website, including images, videos, infographics, and text were created solely for informational purposes. Our reviewed content should never be used for the purpose of diagnosis or treatment of any medical conditions. Content shared on our websites is not meant to be used as a substitute for advice from a certified medical professional. Reliance on the information provided on our website as a basis for patient treatment is solely at your own risk. We urge all our customers to always consult a physician or a certified medical professional before trying or using a new medical product.


HPFY Kevin Cleary

Kevin Cleary

Kevin Cleary has been a Health Products For You contributor for many years and has a degree in marketing. His health and wellness journey has a very personal meaning and has guided him in his content writing for HPFY.

In 2006, ...

Continue reading

Trending Articles

Enteral Feeding: The What, When, and How

Shweta Chaubey

When traditional oral intake is not feasible, enteral feeding comes into play. It supports nutritional needs of individuals recovering from an injury or surgery. Dive into this informative article and learn what, when, why, and how of enteral feeding and ensure optimal patient care.

Using the Carpal Solution Carpal Tunnel Wrist Support

Kevin Cleary

Looking for a non-invasive option to manage carpal tunnel symptoms? Experience relief from constant tingling and pain with this Carpal Solution Wrist Support. Read this article to know about the unique features and benefits of this wrist support brace designed to deal with CTS and find why it is one of the most reliable wrist braces available on the market.

Top 5 Best Reviewed Nebulizers of 2023

Kevin Cleary

Need an effective and affordable nebulizer? Look no further, in this article we offer 5 of our best reviewed nebulizers that are loved by our customers. Click to read more and find the perfect nebulizer for all your respiratory needs.

10 Best Overnight Adult Diapers

Shweta Chaubey

Worried about nighttime leaks? Say goodbye to leakage with our ten best overnight adult diapers and wake up refreshed and dry.

Five Best Cervical Traction Devices of 2023

Taikhum Sadiq

Neck pain can wreak havoc on your otherwise healthy life. Traction device improves your cervical health and overall well-being. Read more to find our best cervical traction devices designed to curb the stiffness and discomfort of cervical muscles.