How to Become a Pediatric Physiotherapist
By: Carly Slater, Pediatric Physiotherapist
By: Carly Slater, Pediatric Physiotherapist
Kids Physio Group: Who Are We?
Kids Physio is a group of private, pediatric physiotherapy clinics in British Columbia, Ontario, and Nova Scotia.
Babies, kids, and teens function differently from adults, and as a result, our spaces and team are well-equipped to provide fun, engaging, and effective pediatric care for a wide range of conditions and presentations.
Kids Physio sets the standard for pediatric physiotherapy, and is renowned globally for making physio FUN!
At Kids Physio, our five core values set the tone for what we stand for as an organization, and we aim to have them reflected in every aspect of our work.
Our value of Providing Fun, World-Class Physio is at the forefront of what we do and is demonstrated in our efforts to elevate the profession globally — in our growth across the country and in the ongoing learning opportunities we provide to both current and aspiring pediatric physiotherapists.
In this guide, I am excited to share more about the pediatric field and how our organization is aiming to continue to elevate physiotherapy care for children.
Physio for Kids
Pediatric physiotherapy (or paeds physio) includes providing assessments and treatment to children.
Physiotherapists in the pediatric field are experts in child development, pediatric-specific conditions, and delivering care that children enjoy participating in. Pediatric physiotherapists can be found in a number of settings including hospitals, schools, multidisciplinary clinics, and more.
A pediatric treatment setting will typically have specialized equipment. This may include toys, games, and playground equipment to engage the children and work towards play-based goals, as well as specific pediatric clinical equipment such as body-weight support treadmills, child-sized bikes, and more.
Overall, the area of paeds physio is growing. With increasing evidence for early intervention for many diagnoses, more healthcare practitioners and families are advocating for physiotherapy. This includes for children with a wide range of disabilities, as well as children who have sustained injuries or are demonstrating deficits in motor development.
World-Class Pediatric Physiotherapy
In Canada, pediatrics is technically not a specialized area of practice and any licensed physiotherapists may begin to treat children. However, many practitioners do not feel comfortable jumping directly into pediatric care as newly trained physiotherapists due to:
- Limited pediatric content in physiotherapy school
- Lack of pediatric placement learning opportunities
- Few opportunities for pediatric continuing education courses, and
- Other limitations
This can be a barrier for physiotherapists who are interested in pediatrics and may cause organizations to struggle to recruit clinicians.
At Kids Physio, we have created resources and opportunities to help fill this gap and allow aspiring or current pediatric physiotherapists to continue to advance their practice and strive to provide fun, world-class physiotherapy care for kids! Learn more about our opportunities in the next section.
Internal Opportunities for Kids Physio Staff
- Mentorship Program: a formal 7-part series hosted on our own Embodia Academy. Each month, we cover a different clinical topic which includes reviewing presentations and resources independently, followed by a live case study discussion with others completing the program across the country
- Case Club: a monthly club where physiotherapists present their challenging cases for discussion with therapists across the country
- Journal Club: a quarterly club where relevant literature is discussed with a focus on implementation within our clinics
- Inservices: approximately every month, an internal or external presenter shares knowledge on a clinical topic virtually or in-person for all physiotherapists across the organization.
- Clinical Coach: each new hire is assigned a compensated clinical coach to support them during the first 6 months of their Kids Physio journey, with both hard and soft pediatric physiotherapy skills.
- Mastermind: following up on our Mentorship Program, our Clinical Mastermind is designed for physiotherapists who have been on our team for 2+ years and who are ready to take on clinical teaching and development opportunities. Upon completion of this program, clinicians receive the designation “Senior Physiotherapist” and receive opportunities to provide ongoing clinic learning across Kids Physio.
External Opportunities for ALL Physiotherapists
- Continuing Education Courses: on our Embodia Academy, we offer continuing education courses for physiotherapists. Currently, we are offering an Infant Motor Development Course and will be launching the Kids Running Course in collaboration with The Running Physio in January 2023.
- Hosting Courses: we host world-renowned instructors to provide continuing education courses at our clinics across Canada. We are currently accepting registrations for Cuevas Medek Exercises Level I with Simona DeMarchi in March 2023 (details HERE). We will also be offering an Introductory NDT Course with Shelley Mannell in October 2023 in Toronto - stay tuned for details!
- Instagram: we aim to provide accurate information for families and physiotherapists on a wide range of pediatric physiotherapist topics.
- External Mentorship: a selection of our incredible senior physiotherapists offers 1-1 virtual mentorship opportunities to pediatric physiotherapists looking for clinical support. Having access to a great mentor can be a huge difference-maker for any physiotherapist, and we are excited to offer specific pediatric support. Please email email@example.com for more information.
We Make Physio FUN
At Kids Physio, we aim to improve access to pediatric learning opportunities and elevate the field clinically and are committed to making physiotherapy a positive experience for every child who walks through our doors. Whether they need a few sessions for an acute issue or will require long-term support for a chronic condition, we can improve patient compliance and help create a positive expectation of rehabilitation for their family to carry forward by making physio fun and comfortable.
Ensuring these impactful experiences also contributes to the growth of pediatric physiotherapy, as families and healthcare providers can feel confident making referrals knowing that the child will likely improve and enjoy the process.
We pride ourselves in making therapy sessions at each Kids Physio location fun, with the use of various games, toys, and playground-type equipment. Where possible, we replicate salient and functional tasks, which for children, is play!
By using a mix of play and work, children are keen to actively participate in therapy and can achieve positive outcomes. Though the games and toys are very helpful, the fun is truly brought by the physiotherapist — an exciting and successful pediatric session can include just a deck of cards or markers when used creatively!
Our therapists' skill and love for incorporating an element of play into their sessions, with the specific interests of their clients top of mind, are a clear indication that they are well-equipped to achieve what we do best in any physiotherapy care setting: Make Physio Fun for Children!
Written: 12 Jan, 2023
Last update: 02 Feb, 2023