Created: January 30, 2017
Therese E Johnston, PT, PhD, MBA, and Christin Hasara Krey, PT, MPT
Pediatric spinal cord injury (SCI) completely or partially disrupts motor and sensory pathways below the level of injury, resulting in loss of function. Many body systems are affected, including the musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, respiratory, endocrine, gastrointestinal, and genitourinary systems. Compared with adult-onset SCI, pediatric-onset SCI has additional complications and requires frequent monitoring as the child grows and develops. Physical therapists play an active role in the rehabilitation and habilitation of children with SCI as well as in monitoring secondary complications and new needs that develop as children grow and mature and move through childhood and adolescence into young adulthood. Education is an important focus and involves children, parents, caregivers, siblings, extended family, teachers, physical therapists, and other health care professionals.