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SMA: What Kind of Physical Therapist Do I Need?


If your child has spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), then it’s likely that their care will come from different areas of health, including physical therapists, but what kind of physical therapist is right for treating your child? The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) has come up with a list of practical tips to help you choose the right physical therapist for your needs.

Experience in pediatric and development disorders
It’s important that the physical therapist you choose has experience in treating children who have development disorders such as SMA. Some practices may only work with your child in their clinic, whereas others will happily work with your child at home or school.

A board-certified clinical specialist
Choosing a board-certified clinical specialist or a therapist who received training or had a residency in neurologic physical therapy or pediatric physical therapy ensure that have the required skills, knowledge and experience to work with your child.

MORE: What to expect – healthcare for SMA.

Ability to work with a team of healthcare workers
The need to work in conjunction with other healthcare professionals is a must. Your child’s care will be multidisciplinary so any physical therapist you choose must be able to communicate effectively with others working with your child and maximize the outcomes.

Neuromuscular disorder expert
If possible, try to choose a physical therapist who focuses on treating children with neuromuscular disorders such as SMA or muscular dystrophy.

Get Recommendations
The SMA community is a good place to start when you’re looking for good physical therapists in your area. They should be able to make recommendations. Also, ask your healthcare team for the names of therapists that they’ve previously worked with.

MORE: Five areas that need to be cared for when you have SMA.

SMA News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

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  1. Max Jones says:

    I like how you talked about choosing a board-certified specialist to help you with your physical therapy so that you know they have all the right skills. My daughter is having knee surgery, and I think that being able to use a properly certified physical therapy specialist to help her with recovery would be a huge asset to her recovery. I’m going to have to see if we can find a few good certified physical therapy clinics near us that she could go to after her surgery! Thanks for the help!

    • Dianne Roncal, DMD says:

      Choosing the right specialist is the best thing you can do to help you recover as they have the best skills. We wish your daughter all the best, Max! 🙂

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