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Physical Therapy

What is Physical Therapy?

Physical therapy helps kids improve their range of motion, strength, flexibility, and movement patterns. The goal of PT is to help children move their bodies how and when they want to the best of their abilities and help make everyday activities easier for kids.

A child is referred to Physical Therapy when there are limitations in Range of Motion (ROM), strength, mobility, or balance.  These limitations may occur for known reasons such as, premature birth, torticollis, scoliosis, hypotonia, in-utero positioning, or may occur for no known reason at all.

TLC offers therapy on an outpatient basis through their outpatient center and through the preschool for children enrolled in their Early Intervention Day Treatment (EIDT) services. If you receive therapy through the outpatient center, your appointment will be scheduled by your therapist. If your child attends the center, they will be checked out of the classroom for therapy and returned to their classroom at various times of the week.  At TLC we invest heavily into the advanced training of our staff so that your child will always receive the absolute best care using the most appropriate treatments.  At The Learning Center, we treat children from birth to 18 years of age. We do recommend that adolescents with sports injuries, see a physical therapist that specializes in that area.

At TLC we consider the child’s physician an important part of the team.  While we would love for you to contact us, we also request that you contact your child’s pediatrician and let them know of your concerns.  Together you can determine if the evaluation may be necessary?  We will be happy to assist you and your physician in obtaining the referral and of any other questions that arise.  If you would like to speak with us about an outpatient referral, please call 870-932-4245 ext. 9374.  If you are inquiring about the EDIT program, please call Christy at 870932-4245 ext. 9355.

Torticollis is defined as a limitation in head and neck movements. Torticollis has progressed at an epidemic rate since Back to Sleep & Prone to Play was implemented.  The Back to Sleep program has all but eliminated SIDS, so it absolutely needs to be followed, but the result is that children are spending less and less time on their tummy.  Usually identified at their 3-month check-up, typically the earlier it is identified the easier it is to treat.

Our therapist uses a combination of muscle energy techniques, manual techniques, myofascial release, and home programming to treat torticollis.  Occasionally, Kinesio taping or a TOT collar is used for severe cases.

As recommended by the Physical Therapy Practice Acts based on a child’s torticollis score, the child will typically receive PT 2-3 times per week initially.  The duration of treatment as well as follows Practice Act guidelines that are based on the improvement of movement.

The child will be taken to the therapist’s treatment room, and the parents are welcome to come.  Using toys and play, the therapist will ask the child to perform a series of tasks i.e., hop on one foot across this line. These are typically items found on a standardized test.  The test is given to “qualify” your child for therapy under insurance guidelines. The therapist may also use a tape measure and a special tool to measure joints called a goniometer.  We often give the children our tools to inspect so that they are not concerned when we use them.  Often children are evaluated and treated where another child or two are nearby. Children typically are less anxious when they see another child playing and enjoying themselves.  The therapist will often ask you several questions throughout the evaluation.  At the end of the evaluation, the therapist may or may not be able to tell you whether or child qualified.  This is a good time to ask any questions about your therapist.  If you are not able to find out that day, the therapist, or their case manager if they are enrolled in the center-based programs, will contact you.

We feel that parents play a very crucial role in the progression of physical therapy treatment.  We will often use letters and or videos of your child and what they are doing in physical therapy, so that you may carry over the work at home.  If you have questions or concerns, please contact us! Our email addresses are listed on this website or call the center directly.

Long gone are the days of Forrest Gump bracing.  Currently, most braces are constructed of soft flexible plastic with Velcro straps.  They are worn in shoes.  The height and style of the brace recommend are determined by the amount of support or control that is required for your child.  We utilize JPO to provide our bracing, but you may utilize any provider you wish.  JPO comet to TLC on Wednesdays, as a convenience for the family and children.  Worn correctly, braces work as a therapy tool, aiding in motor development and strengthening. Braces should not be painful, cause blisters or sores.  If they do remove them immediately and contact your therapist or orthotist.

Neuro Developmental Treatment (NDT) was originated in England by a husband and wife who were physicians in the ’50s.  They focused on the development and treatment of children with cerebral palsy.  It has advanced significantly from that point. Today NDT is a treatment approach that includes a focus on assessment, evaluation, and treatment of those with movement impairment.  NDT holds its roots in neuromuscular dysfunction but is applicable to most all motor disorders. The intensive training is the equivalent of attending 8 weeks of continuous training.  During the 8 weeks, the therapist is sharpening their skills of assessment, evaluation, and treatment.  They are best known for their handling techniques utilized to promote normal motor movement patterns with a focus on functional skills. TLC currently has 7 therapists on staff that are NDT certified, and another 2 that are in process.  This is just one of the ways that TLC works to provide the absolute best treatments for your children.

A huge portion of the motor system is driven by sensory.  For example, most stroke patients have intact motor skills, but they have impaired sensation in their arms or leg.  This leads to the dragging and poor control of the affected arm or leg.  While your child probably has not had a stroke, somewhere in their sensory system things are a little jumbled.  The correct information is not being sent, in the correct frequency at the correct repetition.  Yes, there are a lot of moving parts to sensory-motor disorders. Often these children are described as clumsy, or accident-prone.  PT treats the weakness, poor coordination, and/or timing issues that are limiting the development of motor skills. At TLC we utilize a variety of sensory treatments including the astronaut protocol, Wilberger brushing, vestibular swing, deep pressure, weighted vests, SPIO suits, and TheraBand, just to name a few.  The therapists are trained to utilize the correct combination of sensory with motor so that optimal motor learning occurs.

Physical Therapist

Physical Therapist

Physical Therapist

Physical Therapist Assistant

Speech Language Pathologist

Physical Therapist

Assistant Director of Finance

Physical Therapist