Dr. Joni Redlich is the owner of Kid PT, a pediatric therapy practice based in Somerville, NJ. She and her team also blog at KidPT.com. Joni has focused on using children’s strengths, curiosities and learning styles to help them meet their goals. She focuses on the whole child and believes that every child has unlimited potential. The amazing kids she has worked with have taught her more than she could ever teach them! Joni is Total Motion Release (TMR)-Tots & Teens certified and combines TMR, NDT and vestibular rehab approaches when working with children of all ages. In her free time, Joni loves to spend time with her husband and two daughters having adventures together.
Note: You should consult with your doctor or physical therapist for recommendations on treatment. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of Dr. Redlich and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of OnlinePhysicalTherapyPrograms.com
What inspired you to start Kid PT?
During individual physical therapy sessions, I often hear the same questions over and over again from parents. I wanted to be able to answer those questions for parents in one central location!
What do you hope your readers get out of the information you share with them?
I hope it gives parents confidence to trust their gut. My rule is that mom gut is always right! I hope it gives them guidance when making decisions to help their child become the best they can be.
What inspired your team to become pediatric PTs?
We love guiding parents and their child to look beyond obstacles, breakthrough barriers and reach for their full potential. We love to help children become independent and confident explorers and problem solvers. We believe that movement can enhance all areas of a child’s life and is often the key to finding success in both the classroom and the playground.
What are the challenges to ensuring that children get the physical therapy care they need as soon as possible?
There are many barriers to early access, including a “wait and see” mindset and a limited amount of pediatric providers. Children are not little adults and truly need specialized care to achieve their goals.
What are some of the most important things parents can do early on to encourage neuromotor development in children?
For parents of babies, my number one recommendation is to ditch the equipment and give baby as much time as possible exploring movement. This means a blanket on the floor, lying on the parent’s chest, and babywearing.
As children grow, encourage trial and error and problem solving skills by not jumping in too soon. Sit on your hands and let your child try to climb on to a chair for 100 attempts before they find success. They are learning perseverance and are developing confidence that will last them a lifetime!
You recently wrote a post about screen time in children- can too much screen time impact development?
Screen time is a big struggle to today’s parents. It definitely is in my house! Young children need to move and feel a 3 dimensional world to develop their motor and sensory skills. Screens only give a 2 dimensional world with a lot of auditory and visual stimulation, but no vestibular (inner ear balance system), variation of touch and proprioceptive information (muscles and joints tell us where we are in space). For older children, screens can become addictive. It is a challenge we have as adults as well! Technology is wonderful, but parents have to work hard to find the right balance.
How can new PTs stay up to date on the latest evidence?
My favorite resource for staying current is the Wired on Development podcast and facebook group.
Do you have any advice for PT students?
My best advice for PT students interested in pediatrics is to interact with children with and without disabilities. These were the most valuable experiences that I brought to the table once I became a physical therapist.