What are Physical Therapy Exercises?

Physio studio Physical therapy exercise concentrates mostly on the gross motor skills , such as walking, kicking a ball, climbing stairs and jumping. Physio for children is generally about helping a child with severe delayed developmental milestones, for what ever reason.

Therapy might seem like play to you, but the activities have been specifically designed, to target areas of difficulty or delay.

Some physical therapy exercise your child may do; ride a tri-cycle, walk on a balance beam, swinging, jumping on a trampoline, balancing on a large yoga ball, catching and throwing and other fun things to help stretch, reinforce and strengthen them in a non threatening way.

Some physical therapists, may also use use fine motor skills and sensory integration in their treatment, although they are generally used more often by occupational therapists.

Your physical therapist may give you exercises to do at home, these at-home exercises work with what the therapist has already done, and will help your child progress better, faster and safely. So, do not neglect to do them!

Like doctors, physios also specialise in different areas, some will do sport injuries or head injuries for example. You do however get therapist who specialise in children only. Get a referral from your doctor, if your child needs to see a physio or get in touch with the physio therapy society in your country and they will be able to refer you to the right therapist for your needs. Make sure your therapist is board certified, and keeps up to date with the latest physical therapy exercise developments in their field.


A session can last anywhere between 30-60min depending on what is being done during therapy. As your child progresses this may change in length and frequency. You will also learn many techniques to continue with at home.

If your child is not happy with the treatment or something feels wrong to you, let the physical therapist know. Physical therapy is often a long term treatment, and keep in mind the treatment itself may not always feel good to your child, their bodies are being manipulated in areas that they may not be comfortable with, as they are not use to the movement.

It is, however important to stick to the physical therapy exercise routine, but don't allow the child to be put through to much or pushed to hard.

Celebrate the success...when you follow the plan and stick to the routine, you will see a difference. It may take a while, but milestones will be reached on the road towards the end goal. Take a moment to appreciate the difference. The going may be slow and frustrating at times - but it helps to stop and enjoy the successes, no matter how small!


Girl riding a bike If your child is in a special needs school, they will more than likely receive therapy as part of their curriculum. But what happens during school holidays or if your child has prolonged periods away from school due to illness or treatment of their disability?

All those skills they have learnt may begin to lag, so to keep your child
moving forward, try these "at-home ideas":

  • Swimming
  • The pool is weightless environment and a good place to work on strengthening muscles. Pool time can turn therapy time into fun time!

  • Professional equipment
  • this kind of equipment may not be cheap, but it will give you a starting point to get at-home therapy going with your child, and it's great to see what skills you can improve on the way.

  • Therapist
  • speak to your therapist and let her give you some activities to keep your child going over a break. This will make it easier to pick up the sessions where you left off and prevent your child from regressing.

  • Workout with your child
  • Exercise packs a whole lot of physical therapy punch! Simple exercises at a specific time, can be a fun "gym" time to share. Or simply take a walk around the block with your child, and take the stairs instead of the lifts...this will have benefits for you too.

  • Make it fun, fun and more fun
  • From organised activities to simply throwing a ball in your back yard, these games are all important to a child who with gross motor problems. Make sure to adapt the activities to your childÂ’s particular abilities, to avoid frustration and turn therapy into great together time for you and your child.

If you're looking for something specific, here's your chance to go searching... The Web The special needs child

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Occupational Therapy / Speech Therapy/ Fine motor skills/
Gross motor skills/ Sensory Integration/ Low muscle tone

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