How does physiotherapy for babies work?
- Initial assessments are completed using evidence based measurement tools such as the Alberta Infant Motor Scale (AIMS), the Hammersmith Infant Neurological Examination (HINE) and the Neurological, Sensory, Motor Developmental Assessment (NSMDA) to establish baselines and the child’s strengths and weaknesses.
- The assessment findings in combination with our therapist’s expert knowledge on infant development and milestones is paired to inform appropriate goal setting and subsequent recommendations.
- Home exercise programs are often suggested which involves advice and recommendations on positioning and handling to encourage play and gross motor development.
- Frequency of physiotherapy input is determined based on clinical need and can vary from regular hands on therapy through to periodic monitoring.
- Therapy input for babies is often best conducted in the home so that therapy can be specifically tailored to the child’s natural environment, using the child’s own toys and furniture. This approach is empowering for parents as they can see and learn how to use their own household items and environment to enhance their child’s development.
- Advice and recommendations around positioning equipment can be completed if indicated. Equipment prescribed for babies could include but is not limited to, corner chairs, postural chairs, wedges / positioning blocks (as shown in the photo to the right), supportive strollers and standing frames.
When is physiotherapy for babies indicated?
If your baby presents with any of the following diagnoses or presentations, physiotherapy advice may be indicated:
- Delayed gross motor development: if your child is not reaching age appropriate milestones such as not rolling by 6 months, not sitting by 7-8 months, not crawling by 1 year, or not independently walking by 18months a physiotherapy review would be indicated.
- Diagnosed physical disability such as but not limited to cerebral palsy and brain injury
- Diagnosed genetic or chromosomal condition such as Down Syndrome
- Low muscle tone (hyptonia) or high muscle tone (hypertonia)