Additional information regarding Pediatric Physical Therapy
It can be a daunting and frightening task to search for information for a child with special needs requiring physical therapy intervention and help. For our current clients, future clients, or visitors to our site who can make use of the information provided, we hope to provide you with a wealth of useful, positive, and innovative information, including downloadable brochures, therapy information, detailed information on conditions treated, and informational websites.
At The Therapy Tree, our end goal is always to provide total mind and body growth and wellness, which includes knowledge, and we hope to comfort you with that knowledge and feeling that you are helping yourself or loved one.
Common Terminology Used in Rehabilitative Services
You can browse the list below by scrolling through the all of the terms or selecting the first letter of the term (s) you are seeking. This list is by no means exhaustive and will be continually under construction.
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Constraint-Induced Movement Therapy (CIMT) A rehabilitation technique for patients with hemiplegia that focuses on regaining movement of the affected arm and hand by splinting the non-involved hand, forcing the individual to learn to move the affected arm. Continuing Medical Education (CME) CME programs are intended to continue the medical education of healthcare providers. Physicians are required to earn CME credits to retain their medical licenses. They may do so by taking courses, attending medical conferences, or by reading and taking tests. Creeping A form of crawling where an infant keeps their belly on the ground as they move forward with arms and legs. Cruising A form of assisted walking in which a baby holds onto something for support (e.g. a low table or couch) while taking steps. Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) A childhood disorder marked by clumsiness and poor coordination. Developmental Delay(DD) A lag in achieving childhood developmental milestones according to the expected time frame. A developmental delay, or DD, occurs when a child has the delayed achievement of one or more of his/her “milestones”. This may affect the child’s speech and language, fine and gross motor skills, and/or personal and social skills. Developmental delays, especially if they involve a language delay which may be secondary to a hearing loss, should be identified as early as possible. Developmental Disabilities (DD) Developmental Disability, or developmental disabilities. Developmental disabilities are a diverse group of severe chronic conditions that are due to mental and/or physical impairments. People with developmental disabilities have problems with major life activities such as language, mobility, learning, self-help, and independent living. Developmental disabilities begin anytime during development up to 22 years of age and usually last throughout a person’s lifetime. Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights of 2000 The Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act of 2000, PUBLIC LAW 106-402. The DD Act (2000) was signed into law on October 30, 2000 by President Clinton. Originally authorized by President Kennedy in 1963, The DD Act (2000) reauthorizes the DD Councils, P&As, UCEDDs, and programs of national significance. In addition, the legislation authorizes separate grants for family support and a program of direct support for workers who assist individuals with developmental disabilities. The purpose of the DD Act is to assure that individuals with developmental disabilities and their families participate in the design of and have access to needed community services, individualized supports and other forms of assistance that not only promote independence, productivity, integration and inclusion, and self-determination through culturally competent programs. Developmental Evaluation An assessment done by a health professional to identify the specific developmental disorder(s) affecting an infant/child. Developmental History Term used by professionals to describe a child’s development, beginning before birth. Developmental Milestone Behaviors or skills typically seen in infants and children as they develop. For instance, rolling over, sitting up, crawling, and walking. Developmental Screening The administration of a standardized tool aiding the identification of infants and/or children at risk for a developmental disorder. A developmental screening that targets the area of concern is used if an issue is identified during developmental surveillance. Developmental Surveillance A flexible, longitudinal, continuous, and cumulative process whereby knowledgeable healthcare professionals identify children who many have developmental problems. There are 5 components of developmental surveillance: eliciting and attending to the parents’ concerns about their child’s development, documenting and maintaining a developmental history, making accurate observations of a child, identifying the risk and protective factors, and maintaining an accurate record and documenting the process and findings. Diagnosis The critical analysis of a child’s development in all the developmental domains after reviewing all the assessment results. From this diagnosis, professionals offer parents a precise and detailed description of the characteristics of the child’s development, including strengths and the ways in which the child learns. Discrimination of Sensory Input The ability to correctly recognize sensory input on a neurological level in order to use it functionally. Dysplasia Any abnormal development of tissues or organs. Dyspraxia Poor praxis or motor planning; a less severe but more common dysfunction than apraxia. Related to the diagnosis of developmental coordination disorder. Dystonia Condition caused by sustained muscle contractions which results in twisting and repetitive movement or abnormal postures. Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) Early Childhood Special Education. Special education is instruction that is specially designed to address the educational and other needs of children with disabilities, or a child experiencing developmental delays. Special education is provided free of charge through the public school system. It is available through the same law that makes early intervention services available-the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Special education services are provided free of charge through the public schools. Early Identification The evaluation and treatment provided to families and their children under 3 years old who have, or are at risk for having, a disability or delay. A child can quickly fall behind if their development is delayed. Early identification increases the chances for improvement. Early Intervention Refers to the range of services designed to enhance the development of infants and toddlers at risk for developmental delays/difficulties. Services may include but are not limited to: speech and language therapy, physical and/or occupational therapy, special education, and a range of family support services. Early intervention is sometimes used to refer to any systematic effort to improve developmental outcomes for young children. Early Periodic Screening Diagnosis, Treatment (EPSDT) Early Periodic Screening, Diagnosis, and Treatment. The EPSDT program is the child health component of Medicaid. It is required in every state and is designed to improve the health of low-income children under the age of 21, by financing appropriate and necessary pediatric services. EPSDT was defined by law as part of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1989 (OBRA ’89) legislation and includes periodic screening, vision, dental, and hearing services. In addition, Section 1905(r)(5) of the Social Security Act requires that any medically necessary health care service listed at Section 1905(a) of the Social Security Act be provided to an EPSDT recipient even if the service is not available under the State’s Medicaid plan to the rest of the Medicaid population. This website provides information about how EPSDT works with public health, families, managed care organizations, pediatricians, and other health providers. Etiology The total knowledge concerning the cause of a disease. Evaluation A complex process aimed at identifying specific developmental disorders that are affecting a child. These definitions build on existing definitions. Extension Straightening or backward movement of the spine or arms/legs. Extremity A body limb or appendage. Facilitation The assistance of movement by a therapist in order to feel a patient’s response to changes in posture and movement. Familial Occurring in members of the same family. Family Centered Care Family Centered Care. The concept may also be refered to as family centered practice, or family directed practice. Family-centered care is a process which focuses on ensuring that (1) the organization and delivery of health care services meet the emotional, social, and developmental needs of children, and (2) their families are integrated into all aspects of the health care plan. Family-centered care implies that families have alternatives and choices based on their own needs and strengths and should receive support for those choices, and that the health care system facilitates family/professional collaboration at all levels, especially in planning, implementing, and evaluating programs and their related policies and practices. Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. FERPA is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education (ED). FERPA gives parents certain rights with respect to their children’s education records. These rights transfer to the student when he or she reaches the age of 18 or attends a school beyond the high school level. Fine Motor Skills Tasks that use the small muscles of the body, such as those found in the fingers. Tasks include holding small items, feeding yourself, turning pages and cutting with scissors. Flexion Bending or forward movement of the spine, arms, or legs. Functional Goals Goals that pertain to specific activities of daily living. Functional Limitations The inability to perform a task or activity in a typical way. Gait Walking motions Genetic Inherited through family genes; a trait that runs in a person’s family. Gestures Bodily movements used to communicate with others (e.g. giving, reaching toward an adult, pushing away, pointing, showing, nodding head, taking something from a play partner). Grasp Reflex A baby’s strong grip of a person’s finger when the palm of the baby’s hand is touched. Grip Strength Ability to maintain a firm hold on a toy or object. Gross Motor Refers to movement of large, proximal muscle groups as opposed to smaller, more distal muscle groups. Head Start A federal program started in 1965 that provides free education for young children in many low-income families across the United States. Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) An HMO is a type of Managed Care Organization that provides a form of health insurance coverage in the United States that is fulfilled through hospitals, doctors, and other providers with which the HMO has a contract. Unlike traditional indemnity insurance, care provided in an HMO generally follows a set of care guidelines provided through the HMO’s network of providers. Under this model, providers contract with an HMO to receive more patients and in return usually agree to provide services at a discount. Hemiplegia Paralysis of one side of the body. Hyperextension Extension of a bodily joint beyond its normal range of motion. Hyperkinetic Characterized by increased and excessive muscular movements that are sometimes involuntary. Hypertonia Having excessive muscular tone or strength. Hypertonic Higher muscle tone than what is considered typical; resistance to passive movement, in extreme form, spasticity. Hypertrophy Enlargement of a body part or organ. Hypoactive Abnormally inactive. Hypokinetic Slow moving. Hypotonic Less than typical muscle tone; flabby, soft muscles. Hypoxia Insufficient oxygen supply to body tissue and cells. Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Originally enacted by Congress in 1975 and most recently revised in December 2004, IDEA is the nation’s special education law which ensures children with disabilities have the opportunity to receive a free appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment. IDEA guides how states and school districts provide special education and related services to more than six million eligible children with disabilities. IDEA is made of:
- IDEA Part A: general provisions
- IDEA Part B: provisions relating to the education of school-aged and preschool children, the funding formula (40% of the average cost for every special education student), evaluations for services, eligibility determinations, Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) and educational placements, as well as procedural safeguards
- IDEA Part C: early intervention and other services for infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families (from birth through age 3), as well as grants to states to support these programs for infants and toddlers with disabilities
- IDEA Part D: support for various national activities designed to improve the education of children with disabilities, including personnel preparation activities, technical assistance, and special education research
The frequency of occurrence of a problem at a particular point in time.
Individualized Education Program (IEP)
An education plan for children 3 to 21 enrolled in a special education program. This is mandated for all children enrolled in special education as part of the Individual’s with Disabilities Education Act. (IDEA) An IEP describes the goals set by a team of parents and educators for a child with special needs for the school year, as well as any special supports that are needed to help achieve those goals. In most cases, the services and goals outlined in an IEP can be provided in a standard school environment or in a special resource room in the regular school. The resource room can serve a group of children with similar needs who are brought together for help.
Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP)
As part of Early Intervention, a plan for special service for children 0 to 3 with developmental delays. In contrast to an Individualized Education Program, an IFSP focuses on the needs of the family and child to support the child’s development rather than the child’s education. An IFSP documents and guides the early intervention process for children with disabilities and their families. The IFSP is the vehicle through which effective early intervention is implemented in accordance with Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). It contains information about the services necessary to facilitate a child’s development and enhance the family’s capacity to facilitate the child’s development. Through the IFSP process, family members and service providers work as a team to plan, implement, and evaluate services tailored to the family’s unique concerns, priorities, and resources.
Pain, redness, swelling, and heat that occurs in response to tissue irritation or injury. It usually is caused by the immune system’s response to the body’s contact with a foreign substance, such as an allergen or pathogen.
Merging of posture and gesture that animates the whole body with a consistent movement quality, dynamic, or shape in nonverbal communication.
A computer-based technology used to enhance motor planning, sequencing, and timing.
The application of kinesiotape, an elastic woven material over specific muscles and joints; aides contraction of muscle groups, improves circulation and helps remove fluid buildup. Kinesiotape gives support and stability to a person’s joints and muscles.
The perception or sensing of the motion, weight, or position of the body as muscles, tendons, and joints move.
A normal response in infants when held in a horizontal, face-down position to maintain a convex arc with the head raised and legs slightly flexed; typically displayed around 3 months of age.
Pertaining to the side.
Lateral Movement Patterns
Movement of the arm and leg on the same side of the body flexing and extending together (e.g. belly crawling).
Least Restrictive Environment (LRE)
A LRE is the educational setting where a child with disabilities can receive a FAPE designed to meet his or her education needs while being educated with peers without disabilities in the regular educational environment to the maximum extent appropriate. Learning in least restrictive environments benefits students with and without disabilities in so much as all children are more likely to improve their academic performance, and increase their communication and socialization skills. Visit the LRE Coalition.
Movement of the body from one place to another.
Secondary spinal curve in the lower back that develops when the baby becomes more vertical with independent sitting and standing.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
A medical imaging technique that uses magnetism, radio waves, and computers to visualize detailed internal structures of the body.
In relation to seizures, a progression of muscular convulsions from one muscle group to another.
The scientific manipulation of soft tissues using manual (hands-on) techniques such as applying fixed or movable pressure, holding, and moving muscles and body tissues.
The three membranes that envelop the brain and spinal cord.
Atypical smallness of the head.
The center of the body.
The proficiency to organize and accomplish the act of moving.
The brain’s regulation of its own activity, involves facilitating some neural messages to produce more of a perception or response while inhibiting other messages to reduce excess or extraneous activity.
Modulation of Sensory Input
The ability of the nervous system to filter out or allow in various forms of sensory information.
Paralysis of one body part.
The “embracing” reflex in an infant lying on its back on a table when the table is struck on either side of the child.
Pertaining to body movement or posture.
A group of diseases and syndromes affecting the ability to produce and control bodily movements.
The immediate rotation of the body in the direction to which the head is turned. This reflex is considered typical in infants up to 6 months of age.
Neuro-Developmental Treatment (NDT)
An advanced, hands-on therapeutic approach that is used in working with people who have central nervous system issues (e.g. injury, ischemia, infection, degenerative disease) that create difficulties in controlling movement to help them become as independent as possible. The emphasis is in inhibiting certain patterns and promoting the development of normal postural reactions and achieving normal tone.
Pertaining to the nervous system.
Pertaining to both the nerves and muscles or to nerve impulses transmitted to muscles.
Pathology of the nervous system.
The brain’s ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections throughout life.
A pattern or average regarded as typical for a specific group.
A support, brace, or splint used to support, align, prevent, or correct the function of movable parts of the body.
Inflammation or infection of the middle ear space behind the eardrum; commonly occurs in early childhood and is characterized by ear pain, fever, and hearing problems. Can affect balance.
The automatic placing of hands on the floor when an infant is suddenly lowered from the prone position (supported face-down and horizontal).
Loss or impairment of sensation or voluntary motion.
Loss of feeling and movement in the legs and lower body.
Movement of a child without his help or cooperation.
Caused by or involving disease; structural and functional changes in tissue and body organs, which are atypical or injurious to health.
The tendency to continue or repeat an act or activity after the cessation of the original stimulus.
Personal Care Attendant (PCA)
A PCA helps an individual with a disability with many of the basic daily routines such as getting in or out of bed, bathing, dressing, driving, shopping, or cleaning. The work done by the PCA allows an individual with disabilities to be more independent and live an active, productive life. The use of a PCA may allow for a family member to return to work. It could also be the deciding factor if an individual can live independently or needs to be in an institutional setting such as a nursing home
Physical Therapist (PT)
A professional trained in assessing and providing therapy to treat developmental delays, disease, and injury using methods such as exercise, heat, light, and massage. In a developmental assessment, the physical therapist would assess the ability and quality of the patient’s use of his/her legs, arms, and complete body by encouraging the display of specific motor tasks.
A branch of rehabilitative health that focuses on the preservation, enhancement or restoration of physical movement. Physical therapists provide evaluations and develop plans of care using a variety of treatment techniques that will help restore function and prevent disability.
Occurring or existing after birth.
Pertaining to the position of the body or of body parts; of, relating to, or involving posture.
Occurring or existing before birth.
An early childhood program in which children combine learning with play in a program run by professionally trained adults.
Prevalence The number or proportion of individuals in a community or population with a given condition or problem. Primary Caregiver A person who is responsible for the primary care and upbringing of a person who cannot fully care for him/herself. Prognosis A prediction of the probable course and outcome of a disease. Pronation Turning of the hand with the palm down. Also refers to the turning outward of the foot at the ankle, so that one has a tendency to walk on the inner borders of the foot. Prone Lying on the stomach with the face downward. Proprioception The awareness of one’s posture, movement, balance, and location based on sensations. Proprioceptor A sensory nerve ending in muscles, tendons, and joints that provides a sense of the body’s position by responding to stimuli from within the body. Prosthesis An artificial device used to replace a missing body part; replacement of a missing body part with such a device. Quadriplegia Paralysis of both the arms and legs. Range of Motion (ROM) The range of motion of a joint from full extension to full flexion (bending) measured in degrees like a circle. Reciprocal Movement Movement of both the arms and/or both legs at the same time but in opposite directions (e.g. crawling, or arm swing in walking). Rehabilitation The restoration of a patient to the highest possible level of physical, mental, sensory, and social functioning. Righting Reaction Automatic response that realigns the body with respect to vertical or horizontal positioning. Rigidity Stiffness or inflexibility. Ring Sitting Child sits with knees bent slightly and feet in front so that the legs form a ring. Rolling One of the first locomotion patterns that allows an infant to change his/her place in space. Scoliosis An abnormal, side-to-side curvature of the spine. Scooting A pre-walking form of movement where a baby uses their bottom and hands to push themselves forward and backward. Screening The use of standardized tools to identify and refine a recognized risk. Self-Directed Movement Moving or acting with intent; important for developing action plans. Semi-Supine Lying on one’s back with both legs flexed and feet flat on the floor. Sensorimotor Integration The ability to receive and combine discrete stimuli into a meaningful whole leading to appropriate motor response and feedback, generally on a non-cognitive basis. Sensory Of, or relating to, processes and structures within an organism that receive stimuli from the environment and convey them to the brain. Sensory Discrimination The ability to perceive various aspects of sensation both within a system, such as light touch, texture, and deep pressure from the tactile system, and between different systems, such as smell and taste, vision and hearing. Sensory Input The streams of electrical impulses flowing from the sense receptors in the body to the spinal cord and brain. Sensory Integration (SI) The process of how an individual receives information and processes it based on his/her senses (touch, taste, smell, sound, sight). This may include how one perceives his/her body,and the world around him/her. According to the theory of sensory integration, the many parts of the nervous system work together so that one can interact with the environment effectively and experience appropriate satisfaction. Having poor sensory integration may interfere with activities necessary for daily functioning (e.g. brushing teeth, playing on play equipment, hugging). Sensory Integration and Praxis Tests (SIPT) A series of tests designed by Dr. A Jean Ayres to assess the status of sensory integration or its dysfunction; a revised and updated version of the Southern California Sensory Integration Test (SCSIT). Sensory Integration Certification A certificate indicating a therapist has participated in and completed a postgraduate course of study specific to sensory integration theory and practice, including administering and interpreting the SIPT. Sensory Integrative Deficits Problems in one or more areas of sensory integration and praxis. Side Lying Lying on either side. Side Sitting Child sits with both knees bent and pointing to the same side. Spasticity Increased tension in a muscle. Spatiality The understanding that objects occupy space, even though they may vary in their relationship to the child and to each other. Spica Cast A cast of layers overlapping in a V pattern, covering two body parts greatly different in size (e.g. the hip and waist or the thumb and wrist). Splinter Skills Motor skills developed and maintained through repeated practice on a cognitive basis. Splinting The application of a splint to restrict movement to support or improve alignment of a body part for better function or the tensing of muscles; used to help reduce pain and protection against further injury. Standardization The process of determining established norms and procedures for a test to act as a standard reference point for future test results. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) The sudden and unexpected death of a baby with no known illness; typically affects sleeping infants between the ages of two weeks to six months. Supination Turn or rotation of the hand or forearm so the palm faces up or forward. Also refers to the turning or rotating of the foot so that the outer edge of the sole bears the body’s weight. Supine Lying on the back with the face upward. Also refers to having the palm of the hand facing upward or away from the body. Surveillance The process of recognizing children who may be at risk of developmental delays. Symmetrical Tonic Neck Reflex When a child is positioned face-down over one’s lap with his/her neck flexed, the child’s arms will flex while his/her legs straighten. When the child’s neck is extended, his/her arms will straighten while his/her hips and knees bend. This reflex is usually present until 4 to 6 months of age. Symmetry Exact correspondence of form and constituent configuration on opposite sides of a dividing line or plane or about a center or an axis. Syndrome A combination of symptoms which occur together and define a disease or disorder. Tailor Sitting Child sits with his legs crossed in front of him. Theratogs Customizable physical rehabilitation systems that are worn under clothing to address neuromotor, orthopedic, and postural conditions in children and adults. Title V Title V of the Social Security Act is administered by HRSA, Public Health Service, DHHS. The purpose of Title V is to improve the health of all mothers and children consistent with the applicable health status goals and national health objectives established by the Secretary under the Public Health Service Act. Activities carried out under Title V are funded through the Title V Block Grant. Tonic Labyrinth Reflexes Occurs when an infant is placed on his/her back and extensor tone predominates; also when he/she is placed on his stomach and flexor tone predominates. The presence of this reflex is uncertain in typical child development but is seen in children with motor problems. Tremor Involuntary trembling or quivering in one or more parts of the body, typically in the extremities. Triplegia Paralysis of three of the body’s limbs. Tummy Time Positioning a baby on its stomach while the baby is awake and supervised. Spending time on the stomach helps babies strengthen their head, neck, and shoulder muscles. Vestibular System Sensory organs in the inner-ear system that register the position of the head in relation to gravity and velocity of movement and are critical for all skills requiring balance.
Associations & Organizations
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