03 Nov 2020

How physiotherapy supports children with a disability

At Xavier, our team of physiotherapists support children with a disability in Brisbane and surrounding areas such as Logan and Ipswich. We’re a passionate bunch who believe in supporting children to take part in the physical aspects of everyday life to the best of their ability. In this article we explore how we work with children and their families to achieve this.


Wait, what exactly is physiotherapy?


There’s a common misconception that physiotherapy is an allied health treatment for sports injuries and other types of rehabilitation, for example following an accident or surgery. While this is true, there is so much more to physiotherapy.


In simple terms, physiotherapy uses physical techniques to improve movement, reduce pain and stiffness, speed up the healing process and increase quality of life.


Who delivers physiotherapy?


All physiotherapists must be registered with the Australian Health Practitioner Registration Agency (AHPRA). They must be university qualified, have insurance and be continuing their education.


What does a physiotherapist do?


A physiotherapist will diagnose and provide treatment to manage a broad range of conditions involving muscles, bones, the cardiovascular system, nerves and other parts and systems of the body. Treatment is varied and can include:


  • Tailored exercises
  • Joint manipulation
  • Stretching
  • Massage


What is the role of a physiotherapist?


The role of a physiotherapist is essentially to help people to improve their physical function. This can range from helping an elite athlete to reach the peak of their sporting potential, to supporting an elderly person to walk safely, to helping a person recover after surgery and everything in between.


In physiotherapy, there is a focus on empowering the individual to reach their full potential.


Is a physical therapist the same as a physiotherapist?


The term physical therapist is sometimes used in America and Canada interchangeably with physiotherapist. They are essentially the same thing and in Australia we simply use the term physiotherapist.


What is the difference between a physiotherapist, an osteopath and a chiropractor?


The difference between a physiotherapist, an osteopath and a chiropractor is lots! Here’s a quick guide:


Physiotherapist – physiotherapy is an evidence-based health profession that uses physical techniques to improve movement, reduce pain and stiffness, speed up the healing process and increase quality of life.


Osteopath – osteopaths believe that poor health is often caused by posture, injury and lifestyle habits. They aim to look at how the body functions as a whole, by focusing on various aspects including skin, tissue, joints, muscles, organs and circulation. They tend to treat with a combination of techniques including manipulation, massage, stretches, exercise and advice.


Chiropractor – chiropractors aim to diagnose, correct and prevent issues of the musculoskeletal system. They tend to use manipulation of the spine and limbs as treatment.


How does physiotherapy support children with a disability?


For children with a disability, treatment can look different for each child, depending on their diagnosis, ability and goals. Our physiotherapy team support children with physical and multiple disability to:


- develop, improve and maintain movement

- reach motor milestones such as crawling, walking, sitting, standing and co-ordination

- maintain or improve strength, muscle tone and flexibility

- recommend and prescribe mobility equipment such as walkers and standers

- manage pain and stiffness

- improve body positioning and posture

- provide respiratory support

- develop skills for play 


Further information


If you would like further information on how physiotherapy can support your child with a disability,  simply complete our enquiry form or call 1800 XAVIER to chat to one of our friendly team members.