When a child has a physical disability, they often benefit from working with a trained physical therapist to work toward their missing skills. Physical therapy can be practiced in a medical clinic, in the child's home, or within the school system, and each relates to a different "model" of practice, with different goals and objectives.
The medical model of practice is what is commonly thought of when thinking of physical therapy. It can include going to an outpatient clinic like Chesapeake Bay physical therapy, where a variety of different equipment can be used, including treadmills, weights, swings, ball pools, etc.
The medical model can also be practiced in a child's home, if the child is homebound due to troublesome issues. Goals must be measurable and achievable, and therapists typically have to show progress toward these goals in order to be reimbursed by insurance companies.
Many times, children with lifelong physical disabilities will have to take a break from therapy if they are not making progress toward the goals that have been set. This is known as an "episode of care," which means that a child does not necessarily receive services on an ongoing basis throughout his life.
Alternatively, by law, students may receive physical therapy services through their school system. These services would fall under the educational model of practice and are part of a child's Individualized Education Plan (IEP).
This means that the physical therapist is part of the special education team, which includes the student and parents, helping the student to function within their "least restrictive environment," which is usually the school environment for school-age children.