Pediatric Rehabilitation Frequently Asked Questions

What age groups do you treat?

We provide evaluation, diagnosis and treatment for infants, children and adolescents, from newborns through age 18.

I think my child could benefit from physical, occupational or speech therapy. What’s my first step?

Talk to your child’s pediatrician about your concerns and ask if a referral to a specialist would improve your child’s care. A prescription is required.

Does my child need a referral to start rehabilitation services?

Yes. Your child needs a prescription from their pediatrician or family care physician before they can begin rehabilitation services at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital.

What is pediatric physical therapy?

Pediatric physical therapy helps children improve their mobility, restore function and reduce pain using exercise, massage and other treatments, such as cold or heat therapy.

What is pediatric occupational therapy?

Pediatric occupational therapy teaches children skills and exercises to increase their ability to perform day-to-day tasks and encourage independence.

What is pediatric speech-language therapy?

Pediatric speech-language therapy helps children improve their ability to understand and use language, swallow correctly and speak clearly.

What is a pediatric physiatrist?

Pediatric physiatrists are physical medicine and rehabilitation doctors who specialize in treating children’s physical and neurological conditions that affect how their brain, spinal cord, limbs, muscles and nerves function.

What should my child wear to therapy sessions?

We recommend your child wear loose-fitting, comfortable clothing and athletic shoes. Choose pieces that allow your child to move easily without restrictions.

What should I expect at my child’s first therapy appointment?

Each therapy starts with an evaluation, where the therapist will ask questions about the child’s medical history, current abilities and home environment. They will perform tests and measures and develop a plan of care with goals established in collaboration with the family and the referring physician. It helps if the parent or guardian can attend this first appointment.

What happens during a typical day of inpatient rehabilitation?

Therapists will perform evaluations during the first two days of your child’s hospital stay. Your child will receive at least three hours of therapy five days a week.

The schedule may also include:

  • School
  • Testing
  • Rest breaks
  • Nursing care

The staff will start waking up your child at 7 a.m. to start getting ready for the day. Breakfast arrives at 7:30 a.m. Your child will receive a printed therapy schedule every day for the following day.