Most osteopaths see children of all ages for musculoskeletal and neurological care, movement concerns, positioning and postural issues. They work with children who have no injury or condition, as well as those needing rehabilitation after injury or post- surgery. They also work with children with long term health conditions, physical disabilities, growth and movement issues.
Osteopaths examine movement, growth and development issues for babies and young people with or without an injury.
An assessment may involve screening a child to review progress in meeting movement, coordination, activity, musculoskeletal or developmental milestones expected by an age or stage. Physical, orthopaedic, neurological and functional tests designed for children may be used to identify progress against child milestones.
The osteopath may observe a child during movement in leisure, play or when interacting with others.
If issues needing clinical care are found, the osteopath might consider factors in a child’s life, thoughts, family relationship or broader health that might impact the issue and need attention from other health professionals.
Osteopaths offer a range of clinical services to manage conditions or issues.
Education and advice on activities for maintaining or growing physical skills in children may be offered. Use of certain toys, appliances or equipment for movement and other skills needed in daily activities may be recommended. For babies and young children, education may be given to families and carers on how to position or assist a child in movement and activities for skill development. Older children might also receive movement advice.
Osteopaths might give exercise programs to children, like aerobic and strength training.
Developmentally appropriate manual therapy treatments may be recommended for a child.
Osteopaths work in association with other health professionals, including medical practitioners, paediatricians, maternal and child health nurses, occupational therapists, speech pathologists, and psychologists. They may organise referrals to other health professionals in supporting children and their families.
Most osteopaths work with children and their caregivers. Some have advanced skills in child health care. Learn more about Advanced Practice Recognition and find an Advanced Paediatric Osteopath.
 Physical tests are used to assess anatomy and range of motion in regions of the body.
 Orthopaedic tests are used to assess joint function and joint abnormalities.
 Neurological tests are used to assess the function of the nervous system.
 Functional tests are used to assess movement patterns and patient capacity to perform various activities.