How do I find a physical therapist for my child with cerebral palsy?

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physical therapist working with child with cerebral palsyPhysical therapy benefits many children with cerebral palsy. With the right physical therapy treatment, children may improve mobility, coordination, and motor skills, experience reduced pain and muscle stiffness, and prevent future problems.

You want your child to experience these physical therapy benefits but you don’t know where to start looking for the right physical therapist to treat your child. We have some tips to  help you in your search.

What to Look for in a Physical Therapist

It’s important to find a physical therapist who is the right fit for your child so that she can get as much as possible out of physical therapy treatment. Accordingly, you want to consider a physical therapist who:

  • Specializes in pediatric treatment. Some physical therapists have specific training to work with children.
  • Has treated children with cerebral palsy. Many pediatric physical therapists have treated children with cerebral palsy before and can apply that experience to working with your child.
  • Makes both you and your child comfortable. Personality and style are important. Your child may benefit the most from a physical therapist who not only has the technical skills to provide treatment but who also motivates your child to work hard and provides you with tips for working with your child at home.

How to Find Your Child’s Physical Therapist

Once you know what you are looking for in a physical therapist, you can get specific names of physical therapists by:

  • Talking to your child’s doctor. Pediatricians often refer patients to physical therapists and may provide you with a list of names.
  • Talking to other local parents. If you know parents whose children have had physical therapy treatment, you can ask them about their experience with specific providers.
  • Visiting the physical therapy practice’s website. A physical therapy practice’s website may provide you with useful information, including biographies of treatment providers, practice policies, and patient testimonials.
  • Contacting the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). You can search the APTA website for the names of physical therapists in your area.

Physical therapists are often an important part of a healthcare team. If you know other parents who are searching for physical therapists for their children with cerebral palsy, we invite you to share the answer to this FAQ with them so that they, too, can find the right treatment provider for their children.

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