Pediatric Therapy | Pediatric Physical Therapy

Rehabilitation & Therapy:

Pediatric Physical Therapy


We as pediatric physical therapists work with children with special needs in outpatient and acute care settings. Physical therapy focuses on gross motor skills. These skills can provide a foundation for success in school, at play, and throughout life. Some children need help developing the foundation they require to grow into healthy, happy adults. Physical therapy can help to develop a solid, gross motor skills set, which they will use throughout their lifetime. We collaborate with children and their families to promote development of gross motor skills to assist kids in reaching their maximum potential!

These skills include, but are not limited to:

• Sitting
• Crawling
• Walking
• Running
• Jumping
• Balance
• Coordination


Conditions that may benefit from PT intervention include, but are not limited to:

• Developmental delays
• Cerebral Palsy
• Spina Bifida
• Torticollis
• Down syndrome
• Orthopedic conditions

Children experiencing difficulty learning how to sit, crawl, roll, jump, catch a ball, kick a ball, fatigue easily, or have difficulty participating in physical games with their peers would benefit from our physical therapy services.

Aquatic Therapy

Aquatic therapy is available through Trinity physical therapy to assist qualifying individuals in reaching their physical therapy goals. Aquatic therapy is provided by a licensed physical therapist or physical therapy assistant at the YMCA. The pool has been very beneficial for many children with disabilities, providing a fun and relaxing environment while working on improving functional skills. An aquatic environment is an excellent way to improve coordination, strength, social skills, and walking abilities. The buoyancy of water provides a force that aides children in walking and balance skills, while the density of water provides a constant resistance to movement to increase the strength of the arms, legs, and core muscles.

Vestibular Therapy

Vestibular rehabilitation therapy is available for children who have difficulties with dizziness, balance, coordination, and depth perception. Through detailed assessment, a physical therapist will determine a treatment program to improve vestibular conditions and overall function. Therapy may involve maneuvers for decreasing overall dizziness, improving a child’s tolerance to movement through desensitization, or learning to adapt environments or behaviors so a child can have optimal success in their surroundings.


As defined by the American Hippotherapy Association, hippotherapy is a term that refers to the use of the movement of the horse as a treatment tool to address impairments, functional limitations, and disabilities in patients with neuromusculoskeletal dysfunction. Hippotherapy is used as part of an integrated treatment program to achieve functional outcomes.
In hippotherapy, the patient engages in activities on the horse that are enjoyable and challenging. In the controlled hippotherapy environment, the therapist modifies the horse's movement and carefully grades sensory input. Specific riding skills are not taught (as in therapeutic horseback riding). Rather, a foundation is established to improve neurological function and sensory processing. This foundation can be generalized to a wide range of daily activities.

Why the horse?

The horse's walk improves sensory input through movement, which is variable, rhythmic, and repetitive. The resultant movement responses in the patient are similar to human movement patterns of the pelvis while walking. The variability of the horse's gait enables the therapist to grade the degree of sensory input to the patient, and then use this movement in combination with other treatment strategies to achieve desired results. Patients respond enthusiastically to this enjoyable experience in a natural setting.

General Indications for Hippotherapy, Adults and Children with:

• Mild to severe neuromusculoskeletal dysfunction
• Abnormal muscle tone
• Impaired balance responses
• Impaired coordination
• Impaired communication
• Impaired sensorimotor function
• Postural asymmetry
• Poor postural control
• Decreased mobility
• Limbic system issues related to arousal, motivation & attention

Conditions that may benefit from hippotherapy include, but are not limited to:

•Cerebral Palsy
• Cerebral Vascular Accident
• Developmental Delay
• Down Syndrome
• Functional Spinal Curvature
• Learning or language disabilities
• Multiple Sclerosis
• Sensory Integrative Dysfunction
• Traumatic Brain Injury

Medical Conditions

The primary medical conditions, which may manifest some or all of the above problems and may be indications for hippotherapy are listed below.

Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral Vascular Accident
Developmental Delay
Down Syndrome
Functional Spinal Curvature
Learning or language disabilities
Multiple Sclerosis
Sensory Integrative Dysfunction
Traumatic Brain Injury

Trinity Health's specially trained health professionals must evaluate each potential patient on an individual basis before starting the program. For more information, please call our outpatient physical therapy program at 857-5286 and ask about our hippotherapy program.