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Physiotherapy for children with a disability

Paediatric physiotherapists are physiotherapists who work with children. They are also sometimes called a 'physio'.

They help children with disabilities to improve their movement and take part in everyday activities in their home, school and community.

If your child has movement issues it may be due to problems with their muscles, bones or nervous system.

Some of these happen because of:

  • genetics
  • nerve or muscle disorders
  • developmental disorders
  • premature birth

What a children's physiotherapist does

Children's physiotherapists specialise in how children develop their physical skills. They assess and support children who have a general delay or a movement disorder.

Learn more about physiotherapy from the Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists -

Physiotherapy support

How often your child sees the physiotherapist will depend on their needs. Some children will need physiotherapy for a few months. For others it can be helpful all through their lives.

The physiotherapist will discuss your concerns about your child’s development. They will help to develop long- and short-term goals you and your child wish to achieve.

The physiotherapist will work with you and your child to come up with activities to help achieve these goals.

These may include:

  • positioning and handling through play
  • specific exercise programmes

The physiotherapist may work with your child in individual or group sessions.

Referrals to a physiotherapist in the children's disability network team (CDNT)

Your GP can refer your child to the CDNT or you can make a referral yourself.

You cannot refer to a specific health professional. The team will assess your child.

Page last reviewed: 30 September 2022
Next review due: 30 September 2025