If you're a parent whose child is about to start physical therapy, you know that there will be times when the child just does not want to go. One of the ways to make it easier to get your child to go to therapy with a minimum of fuss is to make the therapy something that the child looks forward to doing, rather than treating it like a medical chore. Physical therapy for children often involves complementary play-type therapies that work on both physical and emotional aspects at the same time, but not all therapists arrange for each—or any—of these methods. If you really want to get your child interested in completing therapy, ask the therapist about using any of these three types.
This is a fairly straightforward form of physical therapy that takes place in a pool instead of a regular therapy room. The water makes the child more buoyant and lighter, which makes it easier for him or her to move, and the resistance offered by the water increases strength and coordination. But most of all, the fact that the child gets to splash around in a pool can make the therapy a lot more fun for the child and less frustrating since gravity is less of an issue.
Music therapy blends the effects of physical therapy, such as working on gross and fine motor skills, coordination, posture, and general movement, with the effects of emotional therapy, such as lower stress, higher motivation, and better expression. Music therapy can involve everything from teaching the child to play an instrument to writing and composing lyrics and melodies. This is very well suited to older children who may be seeking more of a "why" for going through with what they might consider boring or frustrating work.
This is closer to the emotional therapy side of the scale, although working on art does help gross and fine motor skills. The creation of art allows the child to express what he or she is feeling about his or her condition or injury. The work is largely calming and can help untangle thoughts that the child might find difficult to talk about.
When looking for a physical therapist for your child, try to find one who has ties to organizations where the child can experience these different methods, such as a children's hospital or a private practice that is associated with a network of specialists. Companies like ABC Pediatric Therapy may be able to meet your needs in this area.