When your child is diagnosed with cancer the daily life of your child and your family will change. Depending on the cancer diagnoses, you and your child may have a variety of medical professionals that work together to form your medical team and help your child achieve their best outcome. Rehabilitation therapy services – including physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy – can be a part of that team from diagnosis, through treatment and into survivorship.
Different cancers and their associated treatments can cause temporary or permanent changes in how your child’s body functions. During your child’s oncology treatment you may receive therapy services either in the hospital or after discharge in the outpatient setting. These services will focus on helping your child to stay active and prevent further complications. Once your child has finished their oncology treatment, they may continue to benefit from therapy services to continue their recovery and return to their daily routines.
Your child’s therapy team can work with you and your child on the following activities:
- Physical conditioning to enhance their endurance, strength and mobility
- Self-care skills to encourage independence with dressing, bathing and hygiene
- Balance and walking if they begin to have falls or seem unstable
- Improve overall movement and flexibility to help keep them active and reduce pain
- Eating if they begin to have difficulty swallowing or develop sensitivities to certain food textures
- Speaking if they begin to have difficulty with word finding, articulation or communication
It is important to find a therapist that can connect with your child and make therapy a safe and positive experience for them. Your therapist will need to understand your child’s diagnoses, the side effects of any medications they are taking and your child’s medical and safety precautions. A pediatric therapist will know how to help your child recover their physical abilities as well as progress your child through the typical stages of development. It is also important to note that your child may also benefit from adaptive equipment such as braces, wheelchairs, walkers or canes to help them participate in their daily activities.
Pediatric therapists are dedicated to help your child be a child – to learn, play, move and grow – throughout their cancer treatment and recovery. Once your child is finished with therapy, your therapist can help you identify appropriate wellness activities for home and community activities to keep your family and child moving forward.
If you think your child could benefit from pediatric therapy, click here to learn more about the services offered at Ochsner Therapy & Wellness.