What should I expect at the initial evaluation?
The doctor will discuss your child’s past medical history, current abilities and struggles, and your goals for them. You and your child will both need to be present. If the evaluation is during nap time, please anticipate having your child participate after the first 15 minutes of the evaluation start time. There will then be a hands on assessment of your child’s body to assess their muscle tone, range of motion (flexibility), strength, balance and coordination. If your child is unable to follow instruction, the doctor is able to place your child in a position that conveys the information needed to determine your child’s current level of ability. There will be a summary provided at the end that discusses the areas of development that your child is doing well in, and areas that need improvement. A home exercise program will be discussed and provided by the first follow up visit. The doctor and parent will decide the frequency that works best based on the areas of concern for your child and your availability. You should anticipate this taking between 60-80 minutes.
What will the follow up appointments look like?
The doctor will discuss any medical updates, appointments or findings with you, as well as ask for any insight as to what has gone well and what still needs to improve based on the time between the last and current appointment. Appointments can be held in the home, pool, backyard, park, or local play space. All activities will be directed towards the goals that you and the doctor discussed previously. The last several minutes will be spent discussing how your child performed and any additional home exercises to be added or modified based on that day’s performance. These sessions last between 45-55 minutes.
How soon can I expect results?
If your child has a condition that is acute in nature (a recent development), you should anticipate results within just a few sessions, sometimes that same day! Results depend on your child’s personality, their willingness to perform during the appointment, and your follow through. Several times a child has had a difficult time participating at the moment, but within 1 hour of the doctor leaving, the parents send an update that they are doing the activity on their own! If you and your child are willing to take a few minutes each day to work towards the end goal, the progress will be unmistakably fast! You will have a better idea as to how long the progress will take based on the findings at the initial evaluation and where your child falls in relation to their peers.
What happens if I decide to hold off on physical therapy services?
Participating in physical therapy is your and your child’s choice. Sometimes there are other priorities that take place over physical therapy. That is ok. Taking a break with services may be the best choice for your family at a certain time. You should not expect that your child will make progress without ongoing attendance or follow through, and they may go through a period of regression. Practice makes permanent, so if you can work on quality rather than quantity of movements and exercises, your child may be able to maintain their current level of function.
Why should I see a physical therapist vs. a chiropractor, athletic trainer or personal trainer?
A physical therapist is a doctor who specializes in rehabilitating the body through education, hands on techniques, strengthening exercises, balance, coordination, flexibility and endurance. The goal is to teach you as much as possible to become independent and need skilled physical therapy services for as little time as necessary, and to prevent the need for you to return. Once you/your child are at the ideal level of function discussed at the evaluation, services are discontinued with the expectation that you will continue to follow your home exercise program.
A chiropractor is a doctor who specializes in improving and maintaining the flexibility of the body through mobilizations and manipulations of the spine. Chiropractors may have you follow a maintenance program in which you have ongoing visits with them even without your symptoms present.
An athletic trainer is a professional who is trained to work with athletes who specializes in treating and managing injuries related to the sport in which they practice. They assist with pain management, splinting, and educating on when it is time to move out of the time to rest to the time to participate.
A personal trainer is a professional who is trained to enhance your physical performance through weight loss, strength and endurance training, and flexibility exercises. They provide you with exercises to do outside of their sessions and discontinue services once you are at the ideal level of function that you discussed at the evaluation.
Are there any conditions you don’t treat?
At M&G, we are comfortable treating all conditions. If there are specific pieces of information that you think is pertinent to share with your doctor, you can feel free to provide that at the free consultation or initial evaluation.