07 Jul 2021

The role of physiotherapy: Supporting children with disability

Sometimes the role of physiotherapy is misunderstood and can be thought of as a health discipline that helps individuals with physically recovery after suffering an injury, going through a surgery or other physical trauma. While physiotherapy can definitely support individuals in this way, it also plays a very important role in supporting children with disability to improve their physical wellbeing, as part of a multi-disciplinary approach to therapy.


How can physiotherapy help?

Physiotherapy can support children and young people with physical and multiple disabilities in lots of ways. How physiotherapy works to support your child will depend on their skills, ability and their individual goals. Physiotherapy is individualised and it can look very different for each child or young person with disability. For example, your child may be working towards motor milestones such as rolling, sitting or standing. Or your child might need support to:

- maintain or improve physical strength, muscle tone and flexibility

- find the right mobility equipment such as walkers and standers
- manage pain and stiffness
- achieve better body positioning and posture
- improve respiratory issues
- participate in hydrotherapy programs
- develop skills for play 


What does physiotherapy look like?

To your child, physiotherapy will look a lot like play and children can have a lot of fun in a physiotherapy session! Your Physiotherapist with work with you and your child to create an individualised program tailored to their needs and the goals of your child and your family.


Some examples of physiotherapy activities might include:


  • Putting toys just out of reach so that a child is supported to improve their reach and balance.
  • Improving upper body strength so that a child can work towards getting themselves in and out of their wheelchair.
  • Practising balance and coordination riding a trike or shooting hoops.
  • Standing or sitting supported for periods of time.

Further information  

At Xavier, our team of Physiotherapists support children through Brisbane and the greater Brisbane area including Logan, Ipswich, Scarborough and North Lakes. If you’d like further information about physiotherapy for children with high support needs arising from disability, call us on 1800 XAVIER or email