Benefits of Infant Physical Therapy
When you have a baby, you note every milestone and get excited watching your baby’s development. It’s natural to be excited because, during the first twelve months of life, your baby is growing and learning, developing thinking, communication, and motor skills. They need help learning these things, and most of the time, parents can work on developmental activities with their children, and these will be sufficient to promote the necessary skills and physical development. However, for little ones who are delayed, disabled, have a genetic condition, or who have suffered a birth injury, infant physical therapy may be necessary.
What is Pediatric Physical Therapy?
Infant or pediatric physical therapy is a treatment used to help children learn to move their bodies in healthier ways. Under the term “pediatrics,” physical therapy is for children under age 18, from newborns to teenagers, and it is used to treat kids for a variety of reasons, from sports injuries to genetic disorders. Physical therapy for infants typically focuses on helping babies gain muscle control, learn to balance, and either reach or catch up to important developmental milestones. This is especially helpful for infants with conditions like cerebral palsy, spina bifida, Down syndrome, torticollis, neuromuscular disorders, Erb’s palsy, spina bifida, and prematurity.
Importance of Infant Physical Therapy
In physical therapy, infants are treated by physical therapists, who help them improve their range of motion, movement patterns, strength and flexibility.
Baby Development Milestones by Month
The first year is one of rapid growth and development. Physically and mentally, babies are changing all the time. It’s important to know developmental milestones, so that if your little one isn’t hitting them on time, you can seek help and treatment. While every child develops differently, this is an overview of typical cognitive and motor development during the first year:
- One month old: Babies move their heads from side to side during tummy time. They can track movements with their eyes, and the stare at their hands and fingers. A one month old baby already has a strong grip.
- Two months old: Babies play with their fingers, smile responsively, open and close their hands, and can hold their heads and necks up during tummy time, briefly.
- Three months old: Babies reach and grab at objects and can grip them in their hands. They make cooing noises, and will imitate you if you stick out your tongue.
- Four months old: Tummy time gets more exciting, as babies learn to push up on their arms. They can grab objects and hold them, they laugh out loud, and they enjoy playing so much that they sometimes cry when it stops.
- Five months old: Babies begin to roll over, reach for their parents, transfer objects from one hand to another, and blow raspberries.
- Six months old: By now, babies are great at rolling over, and can do it in both directions. They use hands to rake small objects, they recognize familiar faces, and they babble.
- Seven months old: Most babies begin to crawl, scoot, or army crawl by this age, and they are learning to use their thumbs and fingers together. Their babbling becomes more complex, and they respond to other people’s emotional expression.
- Eight months old: At this age, most babies can sit well without support, respond to familiar words, play peekaboo, and clap their hands.
- Nine months old: Babies can use the pincer grasp, working their thumbs and forefingers, and they may try to climb things or crawl upstairs. Most nine-month-old babies understand object permanence, and many experience stranger anxiety.
- Ten months old: Making strides physically and cognitively, babies this age pull to stand, wave bye-bye, raise their arms to ask to be picked up, begin to understand cause, and effect, and learn to stack and sort toys.
- Eleven months old: Babies cruise around the house, using the furniture for balance, and they can turn pages when you read to them. They start becoming opinionated about food, and they’ll play mealtime games like dropping a spoon, to see how their parents will react. Most also say mama or dada, though most use these interchangeably for either parent.
- Twelve months old: Around the first birthday, babies can stand on their own and may take their first steps. They can say an average of two to five words, and they’re beginning to pretend, playing imitative games like pretending to talk on the phone. They can even help get themselves dressed, by pushing their hands into their sleeves.
The Concept of ‘Infant Physical Therapy in a Box’
While children can benefit from the interventions of a pediatric physical therapist, there are also infant physical therapy exercises that can be done at home. In fact, you can do a wide array of developmental activities with your baby, using nothing more than cardboard boxes as equipment. Demonstrate the following activities to your little one, then practice until your baby learns what it means and how to do it. By doing this you will be helping your infant learn cause and effect while also encouraging physical activity and promoting motor skill development.
- Stacking boxes: Use small boxes, helping your baby stack them up and then knock them down.
- Unwrapping boxes: Use colorful paper to wrap boxes, then show your baby how to unwrap them.
- Peek-a-boo: While your baby is having tummy time, hide behind a box and peek out.
- Reach and grasp: Decorate boxes to look bright, shiny, fun, and appealing, then place them just out of reach during tummy time. Show your baby how to reach for them and touch or grasp them.
- Where did it go? Take items the baby likes, and hide them in boxes, then demonstrate how opening or lifting the boxes reveals each object.
Developmental Activities for Infants
Just by playing with your baby, you’re helping your little one to learn, grow, and develop. If your baby needs a physical therapist, the activities the therapist will choose will be dependent on your child’s condition. Typically, exercises will include head control exercises, gentle stretching, using an exercise ball to train for crawling, muscle kneading and massaging, balance and flexibility exercises, and alternating hot and cold compresses on joints and muscles.
Communication with Healthcare Providers
When should you talk to a doctor about the possibility that your baby needs physical therapy? If your child has an injury or a genetic condition, or your doctor notices something that needs to be adjusted, the doctor will probably mention physical therapy before you do. However, you can keep an eye out for signs that your child may need physical therapy from a licensed, accredited, experienced physical therapist, board-certified in pediatric physical therapy. These signs include:
- Failure to meet key developmental milestones in the first year of life
- Favoring a certain side of the body, or tilting the head to one side
- Poor muscle tone
- Poor posture
- Difficulty with balance
- Too much or too little joint mobility
- Diagnosis of one of the conditions mentioned above
Choose the Daisy Way for the Highest Quality Care
If you are looking for infant physical therapy, we can help. Locally owned and operated, Daisy Kids Care works hard to maintain a reputation as the best pediatric healthcare provider in the region. Our team of licensed and certified professionals is here to help, dedicated to meeting your child’s needs, whether that entails private-duty home healthcare or any of our wide array of therapy services, including physical and occupational therapy in pediatrics. We do same-week evaluations, and you will never be put on a waitlist, but will always get the support you need when you need it. We’ve been voted one of the TOP Pediatric Home Health Agencies in Houston, and our mission is to improve the lives of patients 0 to 21 years of age, offering personalized care for the children we serve and a reliable support system for their families. Contact us through our website for more information, or call (713) 766-3849 for nursing or (346) 536-5834 for therapy.
Could Your Child Benefit from a Speech Language Pathologist?
Speech-language pathology is a broad field, and many people don’t know what speech-language pathologists (SLPs) can do for children. People tend to refer to these specialists as speech therapists, but SLPs are much more than that. Pediatric speech therapy can help children with a variety of delays and disorders, from mild delays in articulation to complex disorders like hearing impairment, autism, or Down syndrome.
What Is a Speech-Language Pathologist?
A speech-language pathologist is a highly trained specialist who has been through several educational layers to obtain licensure and certification. After earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees, a speech-language pathologist must complete a post-graduate clinical fellowship before undergoing rigorous testing to obtain an SLP license. The final step is earning the Speech-Language Pathology Certificate of Clinical Competence, from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), then maintaining this certification through continuing education. Speech-language pathologists work with many different types of patients, including people who speak with a stutter. In pediatrics, speech therapy is often provided for babies who have difficulty swallowing, and children with language delays.
What Does a Speech-Language Pathologist Do?
Speech-language pathologists evaluate communication or swallowing difficulties, diagnose problems, create a personal treatment plan, provide therapy, and maintain records tracking their patients’ progress. Pediatric speech and learning therapy often involve fun activities that strengthen certain weaknesses but feel like play. Speech therapy for kids could be games that stimulate word comprehension, retrieval, or conversation, or activities like blowing a whistle. Early intervention speech therapy activities can include sensory play, reading to the child, and singing. Common types of kids’ speech therapy services include early intervention speech therapy for toddlers who are slow to develop speech, therapy for apraxia, which is the difficulty with producing certain sounds, or aphasia, the difficulty with language expression and understanding. It can also include therapy for children who stutter, or who have trouble swallowing.
Communication and Language Disorders
Speech therapy is often associated with fixing a speech impediment, like a stutter. There are actually two types of communication disorders addressed by speech therapy: cognitive and social. Cognitive disorders make it difficult for a person to speak, listen, read, or write, while social communication disorders affect things like greetings, asking questions, speaking appropriately for a situation, and engaging in conversation. Pediatric speech therapy addresses a wide array of communication and language disorders, including:
- Aphasia– This occurs when damage to the brain causes difficulty speaking or understanding others.
- Auditory Processing Disorder– This is difficulty understanding the meaning of sounds.
- Apraxia– This is a condition in which the brain struggles to direct the movements of the muscles used to speak.
- Articulation Disorders– What you may think of as speech therapy, this is the inability to form certain sounds, like “th” or “r”.
- Stuttering– This occurs when the flow of speech is broken by pauses and repetition.
- Resonance Disorders– An obstruction such as a cleft palate causes these disorders.
- Dysarthria- A weakness in the muscles used in speech can be caused by a brain injury.
Essential Personality Traits for Speech-Language Pathologists
Especially for pediatric or early childhood intervention speech therapy, a speech-language pathologist must be loving and caring, with a strong drive to help others. An SLP’s job requires encouragement, understanding, and patience, often with patients and families who are emotionally demanding. Successful speech-language pathologists are people who are curious and genuinely interested in problem-solving, as well as driven to stay informed and pursue further education in their field. SLPs need to be responsible, reliable, mentally stable, and physically healthy because while this career is very rewarding, it can also be draining. A stable, healthy speech therapist can successfully help others with therapies that lead to physical and mental improvement.
The Role of a Speech-Language Pathologist in Home Health Care
There is a wide range of career opportunities for speech-language pathologists, from providing speech therapy, early intervention, and other programs in schools, to working in doctor’s offices, hospitals, and rehabilitation centers. One particularly beneficial type of speech-language therapy is provided through home health care services, with the SLP working in the patient’s home. Because people, particularly children, are more comfortable in their home environments, home health care SLPs can make great progress with their patients. What’s more, having a speech-language pathologist come to the person’s home makes it easier for caregivers to join in the therapies. For elderly people and children who rely on their caregivers, this is especially important. In-home speech-language pathologists must be flexible and at ease working in new environments, as their role involves seeing a variety of patients while commuting to their homes on rotating schedules. A day in the life of a speech-language pathologist typically includes seeing seven or eight patients in their homes, providing initial assessments, therapy, and ongoing reassessments, all in the service of helping patients with speech, language, augmentative communication, and feeding. Home health SLPs also coordinate with other therapists, doctors, and specialists, to provide comprehensive care to their patients.
Choose the Daisy Way for the Highest Quality Care
If you’re looking for a specialist trained in pediatric and early intervention speech therapy techniques, look to Daisy Kids Care. Locally owned and operated, Daisy Kids Care works hard to maintain a reputation as the best pediatric healthcare provider in the region. Our team of licensed and certified professionals is here to help, dedicated to meeting your child’s needs, whether that entails private-duty home healthcare or any of our wide array of therapy services. We do same-week evaluations, and you will never be put on a waitlist, but will always get the support you need when you need it. We’ve been voted one of the TOP Pediatric Home Health Agencies in Houston, and our mission is to improve the lives of patients 0 to 21 years of age, offering personalized care for the children we serve and a reliable support system for their families. Contact us through our website for more information, or call (713) 766-3849 for nursing or (346) 536-5834 for therapy.
Anxiety in Children and the Importance of Comfort
Anxiety is a normal part of life, but for many people, it can become overwhelming. Childhood anxiety has become a major health challenge in modern society, with one in five children experiencing clinical-level anxiety by adolescence. What causes anxiety in children? More importantly, if your child is anxious, how can you help? Knowing the signs of anxiety in children can help you identify it in your own child so that you can be a source of support and comfort. Here, we’ll discuss anxiety symptoms in children and how childhood anxiety can be effectively treated and managed.
Understanding Anxiety in Children
Sometimes, adults are perplexed about what causes anxiety in children. After all, children don’t have bills, taxes, or any of the other cares that cause adults to feel anxious. However, all children experience anxiety from time to time. Meeting new people, being away from their parents, and changes in routine can be causes of anxiety in children, making them feel insecure and afraid. With normal anxiety, the child is able to overcome these anxious feelings and know that everything will be ok. For children with severe anxiety, however, their level of discomfort causes them to fear circumstances where negative emotions may be triggered. When this discomfort is not addressed, anxiety can become excessive and unmanageable, leading to poor school performance, inability to relate to peers, loss of sleep, physical symptoms, and sometimes even eventual substance abuse.
Types and Symptoms of Anxiety
At the heart of anxiety is fear, and some fear is healthy because it protects us from danger. For anxious children, though, common fears are amplified, and their minds are constantly in a state of vigilance, on the lookout for a future threat. Anxiety in young children can be rooted in a natural fear of strangers, and separation anxiety is common for preschoolers, but if the child suddenly experiences this at age 8 or 9, it is likely a sign of anxiety. Risk factors for anxiety include genetics and environment, and the median age for anxiety disorders is 11. Parents need not be concerned if the anxious feelings only last a few weeks, but if they go on for more than a month, they need to be addressed. There are several different types of anxiety:
- Separation anxiety is typical when children are first away from a parent. However, if a child can’t overcome the fear of separation, it can become an anxiety disorder. This fear can lead to clingy behavior, tantrums, and even refusal to go anywhere if one or both parents won’t be present. Fear of separation can become so severe that it can cause physical symptoms like stomach aches or insomnia.
- Social anxiety involves a fear of interacting with peers and meeting new people. It can be easy to confuse introversion with social anxiety, but a child who is introverted or shy may not be afraid as much as overstimulated and overwhelmed. Social anxiety carries with it a fear of judgment that makes children avoid situations in which they feel vulnerable. They may avoid social events entirely, speak quickly or stutter, and have few friends outside of the family.
- Generalized anxiety occurs when children have many fears, rather than one specific fear. This can be frustrating because they may not be able to pinpoint the cause of their anxiety, but just always feel on edge. Generalized anxiety in children can often cause children to feel lethargic and restless, as a result of a state of heightened awareness. It can also cause difficulties with concentration and insomnia.
- Panic disorder often accompanies other types of anxiety disorders. Panic leads to anxiety attacks, with physical symptoms like shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat, and pins and needles feeling that spreads to the extremities and face. Teenagers are more likely to experience anxiety attacks than young children, but anyone experiencing this kind of attack knows it’s a terrifying experience, especially the first time.
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) leads children to try to alleviate their anxiety by following self–imposed rules. A person with OCD tries to fight obsessive thoughts by compulsively performing an action or ritual. Sometimes, people are diagnosed with an obsessive or compulsive component separately.
- Specific phobias are common. People can be afraid of all sorts of things, from spiders to heights to being alone in the dark. When these fears become phobias, it’s because the specific fear is beginning to interfere with day-to-day activities. Phobias are extreme fears, and children with phobias may have such significant anxiety that they do whatever they can to avoid the subject of their fears.
What Causes Anxiety Disorders?
It can be distressing to see your child suffering, and you may wonder if it could have been prevented. However, it’s almost impossible to determine a specific reason why some children suffer from anxiety and others don’t. Many factors are at play, from genetic predisposition, chemical imbalances, and traumatic life experiences. Often, a combination of things leads to anxiety, which makes it very difficult to prevent.
How is Anxiety Diagnosed and Treated?
For anxiety in children, treatment begins with a diagnosis from a therapist. The therapist will talk to the child, ask questions, take notes, and refer to the DSM-5, in order to make an accurate diagnosis. In some cases, the therapist may recommend an appointment with a psychiatrist to discuss medication options, while other children benefit from cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT focuses on talking and learning skills that will help retrain harmful thought patterns that result in anxiety.
How Can I as a Parent Help My Child?
Parents can help soothe children who are struggling with anxiety, and a good first step is to work with a trained therapist to learn how to use the methods taught in therapy to assist your child. Talking with your child, listening to his or her concerns, and never dismiss these fears, but validate them as frightening feelings. When children feel heard and respected, they are better able to overcome anxious feelings. If your child is panicking, it’s important to establish a feeling of calm, and an effective way to do this is with deep belly breathing. Respecting your child’s fear does not mean giving into it, though, and once your child is calm, it’s important to encourage facing those fears. It’s important for children to know that feeling scared is normal, and that we have to push past these fears and do the things, even if they are difficult.
Choose the Daisy Way for the Highest Quality Care
If you need help addressing childhood anxiety, we are here for you. Locally owned and operated, Daisy Kids Care works hard to maintain a reputation as the best pediatric healthcare provider in the region. Our team of licensed and certified professionals is here to help, dedicated to meeting your child’s needs, whether that entails private-duty home healthcare or any of our wide array of therapy services. We do same-week evaluations, and you will never be put on a waitlist, but will always get the support you need when you need it. We’ve been voted one of the TOP Pediatric Home Health Agencies in Houston, and our mission is to improve the lives of patients 0 to 21 years of age, offering personalized care for the children we serve and a reliable support system for their families. Contact us through our website for more information, or call (713) 766-3849 for nursing or (346) 536-5834 for therapy.