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Physical Therapy Frequency and Duration

At the end of your initial evaluation, a frequency will be decided upon that both you as a parent and your therapist feel is appropriate. The frequency depends on how much therapy will be needed to achieve the functional goals established at the evaluation.

Frequencies can vary based on how quickly your child progresses towards achievement of the clearly identified functional goals. At our hospital, we offer a variety based on the child’s need; we offer four different frequencies.


Intensive Therapy

This frequency (two to three times per week) is for children who:

  • Have immediate and complex needs
  • Have the potential to make the greatest gains and are expected to achieve their goals quickly
  • Are at increased risk for having their current functional status deteriorate based on decreased functional ability
  • Will benefit from intense family education in regards to home exercise program and continuously changing functional status


This frequency (one time per week to two times per month) is for children who:

  • Continue to make progress towards their functional goals at a steady rate
  • Require weekly to monthly checks on attainment of their goals so that their home exercise program can be updated to ensure success
  • Need skilled therapy less frequently with greater emphasis on daily completion of home exercise program

Periodic Therapy

This frequency (one time per month) is for children who:

  • Require periodic therapy sessions with a therapist to assess progress towards goal attainment, their current level of function and to update their home exercise program
  • Progress more slowly toward their functional goals
  • Have caregivers who are very competent in completing home exercise program as prescribed to ensure they still are progressing towards their functional goals

Consultative Therapy

This frequency (one to four times per year or as necessary at regularly scheduled intervals) is for children who:

  • Are at a functional baseline and trying to maintain the functional goals they have previously achieved
  • Will be having a planned surgery or other medical intervention that will require some pre or post surgical planning
  • Are attaining a new functional skill based on their age, entering a new social/physical environment
  • Have started requiring the use of a new assistive device
  • Require periodic updates of home exercise program to maintain goal achievement
  • Have been recommended to receive a physical therapy evaluation from another discipline to identify any functional issues and to initiate an appropriate plan of care if necessary

Changing Frequencies/Discontinuing Therapy

Frequencies are always changing and transitions between frequencies are expected during a course of care. Frequencies vary based on your child’s potential for progress, baseline functional level and need for skilled physical therapy intervention. Your child’s frequency will be addressed at every session.

A discharge from therapy can occur with the following:

  • Achievement of functional goals and/or return to previous level of baseline function
  • When therapy services no longer produce a functional and measurable outcome
  • Failure to comply with our attendance policy
  • Caregivers choose to discontinue therapy services
  • A child reaches 18 years

Treatment Breaks

Treatment breaks are often suggested and necessary when the following occurs:

  • Children continue to progress on their own
  • Children’s behavior prevents them from actively participating in therapy session
  • Children become medically unstable or have had a change in their medical status
  • Failure to comply with home program instruction which prevents progress
  • Failure to comply with attendance policy
  • Change in family dynamic or social situation that prevents caretakers from being an active participant in child’s therapy session

It's a Team Effort

Home program compliance is crucial to your child’s success in outpatient therapy. At the end of the initial evaluation and subsequent treatment sessions, your home program will be addressed.

Your home exercise program will be updated when appropriate based on your child’s progression towards achievement of their functional goals. Home program performance will help maintain what you have gained and help your child make further progress

Part of your therapist’s role is to properly educate the caretaker and child in performance of home exercise program. This instruction is based on the learner’s preference, such as written material, verbal instruction or demonstration.

You are your child’s therapist outside of therapy; the more compliant you are with performance of your home exercise program the better outcome your child will have.