Move­ment key to kids’ de­vel­op­ment

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - TRADES & SERVICES - Janita Singh

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

Pae­di­atric phys­io­ther­a­pist Deb­bie Evans helps chil­dren learn to move in­de­pen­dently.

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