Parent Links & Resources

Family Resource Guides For Houston
The ARC Resource Guide
Resource Guide for Parents of Children with Disabilities
The UCP One-Stop Resource Guide

Finding the Right Professional For Your Child

One of the first steps in the rehabilitation process is determining which services will be most helpful.  The starting spot is always your pediatrician, who provides the "medical home" for your child.  However, a basic understanding of who offers and specializes in what is helpful. Please remember these are are very basic explanations.  There are links to each profession's web site for additional information.

Neurology - A Pediatric Neurologist is a specialist physician who typically deals with the central (brain and spinal cord) and peripheral (nerves outside of the brain and spinal cord) nervous system.  A neurologist can help with diagnosis of different nervous system injuries, disorders, and malformations; then recommend and provide particular interventions. Examples of diagnoses appropriate for neurology would be cerebral palsy, seizures, spasticity or movement disorders, muscular dystrophies and traumatic brain injuries. 

Orthopedics - A Pediatric Orthopedic Surgeon is a specialist physician who deals wtih the musculoskeletal (bones and muscles) system.  An orthopedic surgeon can evaluate and monitor bone and joint development, shape and function, and provide surgical intervention when needed.  A good orthopedic surgeon will also make suggestions to help minimize the development of future musculoskeletal problems.

Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R) Specialist - A PM&R Specialist is a physician who identifies functional impairments and creates a comprehensive plan to address (minimize) them.  They will help you see the "big picture" and may refer you to other specialists (for example orthopedics and neurology), then organize the information from them for you. They can also help with nutrition, spasticity management and special equipment.   Many children who are medically fragile or have mulitple disabilities see a Physical Medicine and Rehabilitative physician.

Physical Therapy - A physical therapist is primarily someone who is concerned wtih functional mobility (the ability to move) and the things that contribute to or inhibit mobility.  Examples are pain, muscle weakness, flexibility, speed, balance, and the coordination and timing of movement. Pediatric physical therapists are also trained to assess a child's developmental level, movement fluidity and variety, posture and overall fitness. 

Occupational Therapy - An Occupational Therapist specializes in improving basic motor functions, especially those involving the hands or upper body and activities of daily living.  Examples are getting dressed, writing, using utensils to eat, or accesing communication devices.  With pediatric patients this also includes helping children make sense of things in their environment (sounds, things they touch or feel), being able to play with others and being able to play with toys.  

What To Ask a Specialist - The Interview

Finding the right person for the job is important.  You are interviewing them for a position, and the outcome will impact your child.  Good clinicians understand this and will not be offended by objective questions that are relevant to the issue. You should have a list of questions prepared and make an initial inquiry before scheduling your first appointment.  Your goal should be to find someone who is both highly qualified AND who has an interaction style that fits your child and family.  DON'T BE AFRAID TO ASK QUESTIONS AND REMEMBER, YOU ARE THE BOSS.

Suggested questions are:

  • From which university did you obtain the degree for your profession? (and, if a physician, where did you complete your residency-was it in the US? was it in a well regarded facility or one that offered high level experience in ta pediatric diagnosis similar to my childs')
  • When did you first become licensed in your profession? (How many years experience)
  • Do you have any specialty licensures, certifications or additional training?
  • What do you feel your area of specialty is?
  • How many children like mine (same diagnosis or clinical presentation) do you see and treat each day, month, or year?
  • Do you participate in any professional organizations that present research and examine outcomes within your field? (For example, the American Academy for Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine).
  • Will you present me with all the intervention options for my child (pros and cons) as supported by medical evidence, help set collaborative goals and create an intervention plan?
  • How do you normally communicate with your clients (in office only, text, email, telephone), and how long does it normally take for you to respond to questions or phone calls?
  • What is the wait time to obtain an appointment for new clients?  For ongoing clients?

Links for Additional Information
The following sites provide basic information on a variety of topics.  My top recommendations* are highlighted in orange.  

Associations and Non Profit Groups:
Tufts University>Child And Family Webguide
  ** (A very informative site that rates other web sites based on their accuracy)
American Physical Therapy Association
American Physical Therapy Association>Section on Pediatrics>Consumer Resources
American Academy for Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine
European Academy for Childhood Disability
United Cerebral Palsy 
Reaching for the Stars
The Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy
World Confederation for Physical Therapy
My Child Without Limits
Cerebral Palsy International Research Foundation
WEMOVE Worldwide Education and Awareness for Movement Disorders
The American Academy of Pediatrics>HealthyChildren>Ages and Stages
The American Academy of Pediatrics>National Center for Medical Home Implementation

The Sensory Processing Disorder Foundation

National Information Resources:
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke > Cerebral Palsy Information
National Library of Medicine>MedlinePlus>Cerebral Palsy
National Library of Medicine/National Institute of Health> PubMed (Very useful for literature searches)
National Information Center for Children and Youth With Disabilities

Helpful Forms and Information Sheets
American Academy of Pediatric Resource Sheets and Forms

Physical Therapy Products:
Abilitations Pediatric Therapy and Exercise Equipment
Rifton Pediatric Positioning and Mobility Equipment
Kaye Pediatric Mobility Products
NorthCoast ADL and Splinting Products
Adaptive Mall Pediatric Equipment and Play Products
Exercise Equipment and Physical Therapy Products
Orthopedic Physical Therapy Products
Pro Therapy Supplies

Nutritional information and FDA approved nutritional supplements
USANA Health Sciences

    Why I like USANA

When compared to 1,500 other products, USANA was named Editor’s Choice, and two products (Essentialsand HealthPak) each received a top 5-star rating and Gold Medal of Achievement from NutriSearch Comparative Guide to Nutritional Supplements™, Consumer Edition 

USANA is a member of the United Natural Products Alliance (UNPA)—an association of dietary supplement and functional food companies that share a commitment to provide consumers with natural health products of superior quality, benefit, and reliability.  

Usana has a commitment to strict manufacturing standards

The Food and Drug Administration requires that dietary supplement manufacturers follow Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) for dietary supplements (21 CFR, part 111). USANA, however, voluntarily follows the more stringent GMP for pharmaceuticals as the basis for its quality assurance program, which regulates virtually every aspect of manufacturing, including facility design and maintenance, raw material specification and control, supplier validation, product design and testing, and more. This voluntary adherence to GMP for pharmaceuticals means that USANA treats nutritional supplements with the same care that goes into the manufacturing of over-the-counter products.

In addition, USANA has acquired Drug Establishment Registration with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. This means USANA operates an FDA-registered facility, following the FDA’s highest possible standard for manufacturers. 


Sports and Disability:


*Disclaimer: Not responsible for the content, claims or representations of the listed sites.