How Our Therapists Care for Your Child
A physical therapist focuses on maximizing your child's ability to move through his or her environment in order to interact with family and friends. Strengthening muscles, balance training, and maximizing functional skills--such as your child's ability to walk--are only a few examples of activities typically addressed by a physical therapist.
An occupational therapist focuses on maximizing your child's ability to perform the meaningful tasks of everyday life including washing, dressing, education, play, or social interaction. Our occupational therapists will help your child improve hand skills, enhance his or her ability to process sensory information such as sound and light, and adapt writing and feeding utensils for your child.
Interdisciplinary Approach to Care
Our team of expert occupational and physical therapists works with doctors, nurses, speech therapists, child life specialists, case managers, nutritionists, and other members of your child's healthcare team in almost all areas of the hospital. We regularly meet with other direct caregivers to discuss each child's progress. In addition, our therapists work with social workers and case managers to assure that each child completes our care with the appropriate discharge recommendations and equipment they need. Our goal is for children to be successful at home, in school, and in the community.
We know the importance of family, and we encourage families to be advocates for their children by taking an active role in their child's care. Here, we create therapy plans based on patient and family goals. Each plan is unique to the child and family. Our therapists will collaborate with your family to develop realistic goals that address your needs. We will also strategize with your family to develop activities that help your child achieve functional goals that are also practical for your family.
Transition of Care
When your child completes his or her therapy, we provide a plan for the future--including education on how to prevent further problems or injuries. We also suggest community programs to maintain his or her current abilities. Therapists at the University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children's Hospital collaborate with school therapists and teachers to successfully carryover therapy programs to your child's everyday life.
Standardized Developmental Testing
Our expert therapists use standardized developmental testing in order to determine whether your child's development is typical or whether he or she would benefit from further treatment. We can reassure parents that suspect developmental delays in their child's development by comparing their child's development with larger groups of children in same age group. This knowledge allows physicians and families to begin appropriate treatment earlier--when it matters most. We communicate closely with local early intervention programs. Our developmental testing can help determine a child's eligibility into this program.
We provide therapy services in a stimulating environment, which encourages children to have fun while working on activities to further their development and functional abilities. In Comer Children's, pediatric physical and occupational therapy will now have it's own dedicated space for inpatients. This area allows children to have physical or occupational therapy in an area away from their hospital beds--giving them a chance to socialize with other children. Our therapy department also includes a small therapeutic pool, which is used on an individualized basis for outpatients.
Our therapists also work with child life specialists at your child's bedside and in the Family Central Playroom. By offering therapy in a variety of settings--with other staff your child trusts--we can provide better, all-encompassing therapy services.
Outpatient physical and occupational therapy takes place in the therapy services department located near the adult hospital.
Educating Parents and Caregivers
Parent and caregiver education and training are essential components in all of our programs. Therapists at Comer Children's consistently work with nurses, parents, and other caregivers to ensure that therapy continues from the hospital to the home environment. In some cases and with the parent's consent, therapists will provide digital photographs of your child "working" in therapy. Parents and caretakers can use these visual reminders to carry over the therapy plans throughout the day maximizing your child's benefit from our services.
Speech and Language Therapies
Speech-language therapies at Comer Children's are offered through our otolaryngology (ear, nose, and throat) section. Learn more about these services.