Movement key to kids’ development
A PAEDIATRIC therapist’s work changing, says Evans.
Evans, who specialises in treating children with movement disorders such as those with cerebral palsy, is the founder of treatment centre Therapies for Kids.
“Our job is to assist children to move in a way that is pain free but above all, allowing them to interact independently within their communities,’’ Evans says.
“This may be as simple as teaching a baby to look both ways to teaching a child with cerebral palsy to hold their head straight.
“I have the best job in the world of teaching children to walk . . . my physiotherapist aide calls it ‘walking for chocolate’ (children are rewarded with chocolate and sometimes bubbles for trying to walk).” physiois lifeDebbie
Evans, who has worked in this field for three decades, also spends time researching technology to help children’s mobility.
She is behind the recent campaign GoBabyGo Australia that co-ordinates donations of electric modified toy cars to help children with cerebral palsy, autism and spinal cord injuries become mobile.
“However the most exciting new addition is our GoBabyGo Harness System, a system that allows a child who can’t walk, to walk independently while suspended with their hands free to play,” Evans says.
“It’s a great success and supports the current practice of integrating therapy as these systems can be installed in the home.”
Evans says trends in children’s therapy in the past few years have focused on the child and family as a whole.
“They try to integrate the skills they learn in the clinic into their daily life and home,” she says.
“So if you can teach a child with autism ball skills (i.e. handball), then this skill will allow them to play with their peers and have an opportunity to socialise.”
Evans advises anyone interested in a career in paediatric physiotherapy to find a mentor who can share their knowledge.
She also says you need to be prepared to try new ideas “as no child is the same”.
“The rewards are immeasurable . . . seeing a child take their first steps, watching a child play who has never held an object and watching parents’ and staff delight when a child learns a skill they’ve been practising.”
Evans says funding can sometimes limit results which can be frustrating. See: therapiesforkids.c om.au
Paediatric physiotherapist Debbie Evans helps children learn to move independently.