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What is Pediatric Rehabilitation?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 17 November 2016
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Pediatric rehabilitation is a form of rehabilitation which focuses specifically on the needs of children. It is usually supervised by a doctor who has completed a residency in rehabilitation and physical therapy, and can involve a team of care providers including audiologists, speech pathologists, physical therapists, and psychologists, among others. Because children have unique needs which must be addressed in a rehabilitation program, children who require rehabilitation are often referred to pediatric rehabilitation facilities rather than being treated by specialists who work with adults.

A facility may offer inpatient services, dealing with patients who live in the facility during their rehabilitation, and outpatient services, in which patients travel for rehabilitation sessions. Pediatric rehabilitation can be used to address developmental delays, congenital conditions, acquired disabilities, and psychological issues, including drug addiction in teens or self destructive behaviors in younger children.

For children with congenital disabilities, getting pediatric rehabilitation can make a huge improvement in quality of life. During rehabilitation sessions, the child can build up physical strength, learn to perform a variety of tasks, and learn how to use adaptive tools. Historically, children with congenital developmental or physical disabilities were often given minimal care and support. Rehabilitation programs aimed at children with disabilities have changed this and shown that children with severe disorders of a variety of types can improve and live happier lives with help from rehabilitators.

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Some examples of pediatric rehabilitation include speech therapy for children with speech or language defects, occupational therapy to help children learn to perform tasks like writing, training in the use of prosthetics, and developmental evaluations to determine why children are developing slowly and what can be done to help them.

In addition to addressing congenital conditions, pediatric rehabilitation can also be used to address acquired injuries, ranging from amputations which force a child to change his or her lifestyle to injuries like burns which require extensive rehabilitation during recovery. The earlier rehabilitation is provided, the better the outlook for the patient can be, and this can make pediatric rehabilitation a vital part of treatment for children who have experienced accidents or physical abuse resulting in serious injuries.

Psychological issues may also be addressed in rehabilitation. Like adults, children can suffer from a wide variety of psychological problems which may contribute to personal distress, destructive behavior, social issues, and other problems. Rehabilitation can provide children with a safe and secure environment in which to address these issues, promoting better emotional development for children. Addressing psychological problems can also help to resolve developmental delays which may be psychological in cause.

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