Last Modified: 2:09pm 01/12/2023

Children’s Physiotherapy

What is Physiotherapy?

Physiotherapy is a healthcare profession that promotes health and wellbeing for all. Physiotherapists are responsible for the assessment and physical rehabilitation of those needing treatment due to accident, injury, illness, disease or disability.

What is Children’s Physiotherapy?

Children’s physiotherapy is the treatment and care of babies, children and young people. Children’s physiotherapists have additional specialist knowledge and experience of child development and childhood disabilities.

Children’s physiotherapists often look at how a child’s motor skills (movement skills) are developing and give advice on how to encourage good development and how to improve or optimise skills. Physiotherapists also work with people who have long-term conditions or disabilities to help them to keep their muscles, joints and respiratory system in the best condition to help them to be active and enjoy life to the full.

What can I do to help my child’s motor skills develop?

There is a lot that you can do to encourage motor development; it is very important for children to have plenty of active time every day, for example playing outside, going to the park, riding a bicycle or playing ball games. If there is something that your child finds difficult, try to break down the task into easy steps and practise regularly. Make sure that it is enjoyable.

Try to find an activity that your child enjoys and be sure to join in with them if you can – active children need active families. Exercise can be structured such as clubs and going to soft play, but playing games or dancing to music  can be just as good.

Eating a healthy diet and maintaining a healthy weight are also extremely important.

When might a child need to see a physiotherapist?

If you have a concern about how your child is developing, your first step should be to speak to either your health visitor or GP. They may provide advice directly or refer your child for a physiotherapy assessment. Examples of when physiotherapy may be indicated include:

  • If a child is missing their motor milestones
  • If a child is in pain when they move
  • If a child moves around in a very different way to other children
  • If a child has an illness or disability which means they need help to keep their joints, muscles or respiratory system active and healthy
  • If a child has a motor disorder impacting on function
  • If a child needs rehabilitation after an accident, illness or injury

 How can I access children’s Physiotherapy?

If you feel that your child would benefit from Physiotherapy intervention we require a referral from a healthcare professional.

We will require details of specific functional difficulties.

How soon will my child be seen?

All referrals are triaged by a specialist clinician who will decide if the referral is appropriate and will categorise the urgency of the case.  Referrals are prioritised according to clinical need and are seen within 18 weeks. If the referral is not deemed appropriate it will be returned to the referrer with an explanation for rejection.

Where will my child be seen?

Younger children are seen at the Child Development Centre which is located in the building adjacent to the main entrance on the Milton Keynes University Hospital site – opposite the multi-storey car park (Car Park D).

Address: Child Development Centre, Milton Keynes University Hospital, Standing Way, Eaglestone, Milton Keynes, MK6 5NG

Children of school age and young people are seen at the Stony Stratford Health Centre which benefits from free parking.

Address: Stony Stratford Health Centre, Market Square, Stony Stratford, MK11 1YA

What will happen at my child’s appointment?

 At your first appointment, your physiotherapist will take a detailed history of your child’s current condition. They will then perform a physical examination to determine the cause and establish the best method of treating and managing their condition. The examination may be through observing play and other activities. Your child may have to partially undress to allow their movement to be assessed. Please try to dress your child appropriately to allow freedom of movement and for affected areas to be examined, for example shorts if they have a knee problem.

Please bring any correspondence relating to your child’s current condition such as clinic appointments or letters regarding previous treatments.

For young children you may wish to bring toys with you which will motivate or calm them.

Treatment is based upon an assessment of your child’s needs and the formation of an individual treatment programme. Children’s physiotherapists recognise the importance of working in partnership with the child, the parents and carers to maximise a child’s physical abilities and independence.

Do you work with other services?

 We work closely with other professionals including education. With your permission we may liaise with other professionals or with your child’s nursery or school. We may also make onward referrals to meet your child’s needs.

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