Signs Your School-aged Child May Need Physical Therapy

Signs Your School-aged Child May Need Physical Therapy

The school year is now well underway and many families are starting to have the first parent-teacher conferences of the year. During these conferences a child’s teacher might mention some observations regarding a child’s gross motor development that could affect their participation in learning and school activities, especially in elementary school-aged children. Here are some observation that teachers or staff might pick up in during the school day, that could affect a child’s ability to participate fully in school activities:

  • A child slouches much of the day and uses his/her arms to hold him/herself up during reading and writing.
  • A child prefers to sit during recess or physical education instead of partaking in games on the playground with their friends.
  • A child has a hard time keeping up with his/her peers during recess and physical education.
  • A child has difficulty with activities such as catching, throwing, skipping, hopping or jumping, especially when compared to their peers.
  • A child prefers to sit in the “W” position (sit on their bottom, with their feet turned out) when sitting on the floor.
  • A child trips and falls more often than their peers.
  • A child has a different gait pattern than their peers (such as toe walking) or runs much slower than his/her peers.
  • A child complains of pain in their legs or back.

It is important to note that kids can exhibit any of the signs listed above and not need physical therapy. For example, some kids may enjoy board games or puzzles more than running around. Likewise, slouching may just mean that they aren’t interested in a particular activity/subject. However, if one or more signs are observed by parents or teachers on a regular basis, the child may benefit from a PT evaluation. It is also important to note that if a child complains of a pain for which a direct cause is not known, then they should see their pediatrician.  Our therapists at Beyond the Clinic are also happy to answer any questions that parent might have, to see if a physical therapy evaluation is recommended.

Beyond the Clinic has physical, occupation and speech therapists that can assist with a variety of concerns that might surface during the school year. Our occupational therapists can even help with handwriting concerns. Our home visits and flexible scheduling make it easy to work around school and extra-curricular activities! We can also help kids recover from injuries such as sprains, strains, and even broken bones.

Contact us at (503) 496-0385 with any questions or to set up an evaluation.

(Blog post courtesy of Crystal Bridges, DPT)