Physical Therapy

What to Expect

Clinic Visit

  • Things to do before your appointment
  • Who does the Physical Therapy Program see?

    Physical Therapy sees babies, children, teens and young adults up to age 21 for a wide range of physical issues. With special permission, we see young adults with some conditions, like cancer or skeletal dysplasia, in their 20s if they cannot get the services they need at an adult facility.

  • Who will see my child?

    For the first visit, your child will see a physical therapist (PT). After the first visit, a PT may partner with a physical therapy assistant (PTA) to provide your child’s care.

  • What happens during a clinic visit?
    1. You and your child will meet with a PT who will ask what your main concerns are about your child’s physical skills.
    2. The PT will evaluate your child, which could mean watching how your child moves and doing tests that tell us about your child’s function.
    3. By the end of your visit, the PT will explain what they found and what they recommend.
  • How long is an physical therapy visit?

    Visits are 30 to 90 minutes. The scheduler will tell you what to expect when you make the appointment.

  • What to bring
    • For all visits, have your child wear comfortable clothing that is easy to move in.
    • If we are evaluating your child for injuries or illness that affects their lower body or for walking skills, bring shorts and tennis shoes for your child.
    • If your child uses ankle orthotics, bring the orthotics.
    • If we are seeing your baby for feeding therapy, make sure your child is hungry (if possible, do not feed your child for 2 hours before the visit). Bring from home 1 food your child usually will eat and 1 food they usually will not eat.
    • If we are seeing your child for pain rehab, bring tennis shoes and a water bottle for your child.
    • If we are evaluating your child for equipment or positioning, bring your child’s current equipment, including wheelchair and car seat, if your child uses them.
  • What can I expect as a parent/caregiver?
    • Your PT will work with you to set specific functional goals for your child.
    • We provide short courses of therapy focused on your child’s specific goals, not long-term ongoing therapy.
    • To help your child’s function improve, we may ask you to do a home exercise program with your child.
  • After the appointment

    We will make sure you leave the appointment with detailed instructions about what is to happen next and try to answer all of your questions. We will provide you with phone numbers to call us if you have questions after you leave.

  • How will we find out about test results?

    For some tests, the PT needs to score the test after your visit. The PT will call you with the results or they will be available through MyChart.

  • What are the next steps?
    • If the PT recommends that you return to Seattle Children’s for treatment, we will help you set up more appointments.
    • If the PT recommends treatment with a therapist in the community, we can help you set this up.
    • The PT might send a report to the doctor who referred you or call them to talk about your child’s care.
  • What if I need to cancel or reschedule an appointment?

    Call the clinic you are scheduled to visit.

  • Preparing your child
    • If there is anything specific you should do to prepare your child for the type of visit you are having, the scheduler will tell you when you make the appointment.
    • Learn more about preparing your child for a clinic visit.
  • Directions and parking
    • Find your location in our map and directions section.
    • Arrive 15 minutes before your appointment to allow time for registration.

More information 

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