Pediatric Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, and Speech-Language Pathology Services at the University of Tennessee Medical Center are provided in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).Our team of pediatric therapists work with the child’s family as well as other health care providers including physicians, nurses, dieticians, and case managers in providing the very best of care to the smallest of patients.
Enhancing Baby's Development
Physical Therapists and Occupational Therapists in the NICU focus on enhancing the infant’s neuromotor development through:
- Sensory integrative techniques
- Neuromuscular development techniques
- Parent education
- Weekly multi-disciplinary collaboration
- Discharge planning with developmental follow-up
A Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) in the NICU may work with the newborn to assess oral motor development and feeding. The SLP will determine the baby’s strengths and build on them to develop a personalized plan of care for feeding to achieve adequate weight gain through safe and efficient nutrition. The SLP may also perform a video fluoroscopic swallowing study. From these results, the SLP will recommend the safest strategies, positioning, and nipple to prevent aspiration and ensure safe feeding.
Working With Older Children
In the PICU, our Physical and Occupational Therapists work with children from birth to fourteen who have been admitted to the hospital with an injury or illness that has limited their mobility. Our therapists work with the children and their families in helping the child return to his/her previous level of functional mobility. A SLP works with the child to improve any impairment in expressive and receptive language skills or communication abilities. These impairments may come from traumatic brain injuries or various neurological impairments. The child may also be assessed for feeding and swallowing difficulties.