Advice for Parents

Following a serious injury your child may develop problems with the movements of their arms and legs, and their ability to get out of bed, stand by themselves, walk or run. If this occurs they may need to see a Physiotherapist.


Physiotherapists (PT) are specialists in the assessment, and management of children who develop abnormalities with their movements (especially of their legs and arms) after a traumatic event.

A PT works with you and your child to assess for muscle weakness, tightness, and difficulties in whole body movements at different stages of their recovery through play, observation and assessment.


At a trauma centre, a PT may see your child on the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit and/or the Paediatric Ward. When you leave the hospital your child may be referred to Local Community Services close to home/school or they may need further inpatient rehabilitation at a specialist unit.


Serious injury can cause a variety of problems with movement. In particular, a brain injury can cause problems with gross motor (whole body) movements. Depending on the age of your child you might notice that they are struggling to move in the way that they did before e.g. finding it difficult to crawl, or to sit up.

Physiotherapy will start with gaining a good history from you, as parents (and your child as appropriate) about what they were able to do before their injury. This will include where they were in their developmental milestones (for babies/toddlers) and what sports they might have enjoyed (for older children).

PTs will then assess your child’s active movements, the tone in their muscles, their strength & if they are starting to get muscle tightness. They will look at how your child is moving taking into account their age and baseline abilities. Having completed a full assessment the Physiotherapy team will start giving your child rehabilitation as required.

This will include an exercise programme or a positional management programme for during the day and then hands-on (as needed) rehabilitation sessions to improve and optimise their gross motor skills. Physiotherapy may also refer for orthotic intervention (ankle splints) if needed to help improve your child’s walking pattern where needed and to avoid muscle tightness.


It is very difficult to predict the outcome of gross motor skills after a traumatic event as every child and their recovery time is different.

What we do know is that early and on-going support from a Physiotherapist including regular reviews to assess the suitability and specificity of timely intervention does make a difference.


All therapy goals should be jointly made with you, your child and other professionals who are caring for your child. Each child and family should receive therapy which facilitates optimum recovery of skills. You should be encouraged to attend therapy sessions in hospital and supported to continue therapy with your child.

Physiotherapy Advice for Children

After you have been hurt you may need to see a Physiotherapist.

We can help you with sitting up, getting out of bed, walking and playing sport.

We come to play games with you and talk with you and your family.

We may help you move into different positions with our own help if your muscles are too weak to do it yourself.

We may need to watch moving yourself to assess how strong and to check that none of your muscles are getting tight.

Physiotherapy Advice for Teenagers

A Physiotherapist can help you after a serious injury.

If you have suffered a brain injury, this may make moving your arms, legs and body more difficult.

The main goal is to work with you to find out what things are tricky for you and then start working on these skills together to get them as good as we can.

Sometimes you need to see us lots and other times we can give you stuff to do e.g. practicing moving your legs & arms in bed or sitting up or walking.

Our main aim is to get you moving as efficiently as possible and support you to be able to go out and meet your friends and family.

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