Physical Therapy Increases Independence in Kids

In honor of National Physical Therapy Month, we spoke to Lauren Bojorquez, PT, DPT, who has been a physical therapist at CHOC Children’s for six years. She works with children with neurodevelopmental diagnoses, as well as patients with orthopedic diagnoses, and has expanded her practice to include the post-concussive population, oncology population, aquatic therapy, and inpatient acute coverage. Lauren is mom to two young daughters and enjoys keeping active by competing in sprint triathlons.National Physical Therapy Month

Q: Why did you want to work at CHOC?

A: This is my dream job! I work here at CHOC Rehab because I have always felt like I was called to work with children in my career. I love helping kids get back to the highest level of function they possibly can in order to make them more independent and have a better quality of life, and I love the team we have here in Rehab!

Q: What made you want to become a physical therapist?

A: I had a teammate in softball that tore her ACL [anterior cruciate ligament, a common knee injury] in her senior year of high school while we were playing together.  She received physical therapy and returned to sport in time to get a full-ride scholarship to college. I thought it was awesome that she was able to get back to what she loved to do, so I decided that was wanted I wanted to do for my career, and never looked back.

Q: What part of being a physical therapist are you most passionate about?

A: I’m most passionate about working with the kids with an oncology diagnosis here. They amaze me every day how they can go through such hard times, but when you can find what they are motivated by, they make such quick and fantastic progress here at CHOC, and they are so happy when they find their way back to doing what they love to do.

Q: What is unique to being a physical therapist, as opposed to other specialties?

A: The time we get to spend with each patient and family as a PT here at CHOC is 45 minutes to an hour of one-on-one time, one to two times per week. I think that makes it a really special bond with each child, and therefore it is a great job to have.

Q: What else should people know about physical therapy at CHOC?

A: I think that one thing that people do not know about physical therapists is the knowledge base we have. It is now required to have your doctorate to be a physical therapist. Each one of my co-workers is so smart and digs so deep to ensure that we have a good base of knowledge in neurology, orthopedics, cardiopulmonary, and integumentary systems, so that we can give our kids here at CHOC the best treatment possible. We have an amazing team that truly gives their whole heart to CHOC Rehab, and I’m proud to be a part of it.

Learn more about CHOC Children’s Rehabilitation Services.

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The Role and Benefits of Pediatric Physical Therapy

In recognition of National Physical Therapy Month, we talked to Stephanie Gohman, PTA, Allison Breig, PT, MPT and Mollee Smith, PT, DPT, OCS , physical therapists at CHOC Children’s, who shared their expertise on the role of physical therapy and how it can benefit your child. The dedicated physical therapy team at CHOC is specially trained to provide the utmost quality, family-centered care to children of all ages and with the most complex conditions.

Q: What is the role of a physical therapist?

A: Physical therapists are experts in movement analysis and facilitate normal motor development while maximizing functional independence. We promote health and wellness in children in a clinic or community setting by way of screenings or evaluations to identify the focus of intervention. Pediatric physical therapists collaborate with medical, educational, rehabilitation specialists and families to promote optimal physical functioning based on the needs of each child. Physical therapy interventions can facilitate the best cognitive and physical development by addressing flexibility, strength, and energy efficiency with movement in order to optimize play and daily activities.

Q: When should my child see a physical therapist?

A: Any child who demonstrates limitations in or inability to perform normal age appropriate motor skills should be referred for a physical therapy consultation. This may follow an injury, surgery or complication from a medical condition. You should also consult a physical therapist when your child is not meeting the normal developmental milestones or if you would like to establish a fitness plan for injury prevention or weight management.

Q: What is unique about the physical therapy program at CHOC?

A: The CHOC Children’s Physical Therapy program provides family-centered care to meet the functional needs of each child. We empower children and families during therapy sessions through goal driven treatment plans. We work with children and their families to safely transition them from skilled therapy to community programs.

Our team is specially trained to work with kids of all ages and disabilities who may be experiencing challenges during various stages of their lifespan as a result of their chronic condition or injury.

Physical activity is different in children than it is in adults. Our team specializes in treatment techniques to keep kids engaged through fun and developmentally appropriate exercise and physical activities. We know how to challenge each child to optimize their growth and developmental potential.
 
Q: What are the most common injuries or conditions you see at CHOC?

A: Many of our therapists are certified clinical specialists who specialize in everything from the medically fragile child to the high functioning athlete attempting to return to competitive play after injury. Our program is comprehensive and covers many different conditions such as:  ACL injuries, acquired or traumatic brain injuries, cancer-related complications, cerebral palsy, concussions, Down syndrome, elbow fractures, juvenile arthritis conditions, knee pain, scoliosis, torticollis, and wound care.

Q: What are some preventive measures that kids can take to avoid injuries?

A: Move! With the growing availability of computers, ipads, and video games the concern for unhealthy behaviors is also on the rise. Keeping kids active encourages strength, flexibility, balance and coordination, all of which help prevent injuries and disease. A minimum of 60 minutes per day of moderate to vigorous exercise is recommended for optimal health and fitness. Children with disabilities and chronic conditions may need the help of a physical therapist to modify exercises or recommend specific activities for optimum fitness participation and mobility.

To learn more about about CHOC Children’s Physical Therapy program, please visit:

http://www.choc.org/rehabilitation/

For more information on physical activity guidelines, please visit:

www.kidshealth.org

http://www.health.gov/paguidelines/