top of page
Untitled design (1)_edited.png


Should I visit a physiotherapist or an occupational therapist for my child with delayed milestones?

The practice of medicine involving children is categorized under pediatrics. They are several disciplines that practice in this area including physiotherapy and occupational therapy. A multi-disciplinary team is always ideal to ensure good outcomes and objectivity in treatment and care.

Pediatric physiotherapy and pediatric occupational therapy are both specialized therapies focused on helping children improve their physical and functional abilities. While there is some overlap in their goals, approaches, and techniques, there are also distinct differences between the two disciplines:

Pediatric Physiotherapy: Pediatric physiotherapy, also known as pediatric physical therapy, focuses on improving a child's physical movement, mobility, strength, balance, coordination, and gross motor skills. Physiotherapists use various techniques and exercises to address impairments related to the musculoskeletal, neuromuscular, and cardiopulmonary systems.

Some key aspects of pediatric physiotherapy include:

  1. Gross Motor Skills: Physiotherapists work with children to develop and improve their gross motor skills, such as crawling, walking, running, jumping, and playing sports.

  2. Range of Motion: They help children improve their joint range of motion, flexibility, and muscle strength through stretching, strengthening exercises, and therapeutic activities.

  3. Balance and Coordination: Physiotherapists address balance and coordination difficulties, helping children enhance their stability, motor planning, and overall body control.

  4. Assistive Devices: They may recommend and provide guidance on the use of assistive devices like braces, orthotics, or adaptive equipment to promote mobility and independence.

Pediatric Occupational Therapy: Pediatric occupational therapy focuses on helping children develop and enhance their functional skills and independence in activities of daily living (ADLs), play, school, and social participation. Occupational therapists address physical, cognitive, sensory, and psychosocial aspects to improve a child's ability to engage in daily tasks and achieve developmental milestones.

Some key aspects of pediatric occupational therapy include:

  1. Activities of Daily Living (ADLs): Occupational therapists work on enhancing a child's skills related to self-care activities, such as dressing, feeding, grooming, toileting, and hygiene.

  2. Fine Motor Skills: They focus on developing and refining fine motor skills needed for tasks like writing, cutting, manipulating small objects, and using utensils.

  3. Sensory Integration: Occupational therapists address sensory processing difficulties, helping children better understand and respond to sensory information to improve attention, regulation, and overall function.

  4. School Performance: They support children in developing skills necessary for school success, including handwriting, organization, time management, and attention.

It's important to note that while there are distinctions between pediatric physiotherapy and pediatric occupational therapy, both disciplines often work together collaboratively, particularly when a child's needs encompass both physical and functional aspects. In many cases, a comprehensive approach involving both therapies can provide the most holistic and effective support for a child's development and well-being.

At Machakos orthopedic clinic, our rehabilitation department houses a resident physical therapist who works with several children to help their developmental milestones. If your child is experiencing difficulty in the above highlighted areas, visit us at the clinic for management.

102 views2 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page