Pediatric osteopathy

The child with a disability

Osteopathy can be a valuable addition to the multidisciplinary approach used in preventive as well as curative care of children with a disability. This applies to children with physical and/or mental disabilities. Osteopathy may positively influence the development of the disabled child on a mental, emotional or physical level, and may thereby improve the quality of life for the child. The medical history of the child will be taken into account before the osteopathic treatment starts.

It is possible that children with a disability are strained more intensively due to complications of internal organs. For example, children with Down syndrome have a 50% risk of having a congenital heart condition. Additionally, disabled children often suffer from chronic infections in the upper part of the respiratory tract, which may negatively affect their overall physical condition. Optimal health is crucial, especially for children with a developmental delay.
Optimal functioning of the heart, blood vessels and the respiratory system depends on the mobility of these organs with respect to their surrounding tissue (such as the ribs, sternum and the diaphragm), as well as the control of these organs and tissues by the nervous system located in the vertebral column and skull. An osteopath is educated and trained to treat mobility losses of these body systems, wherein the treatment is fine-tuned to the overall capacity of the child.

Research in children with cerebral palsy shows that osteopathic treatment positively affects the motor development, intestine function, sleep and mood of the child. The osteopath is able to affect the central nervous system by influencing the skull, vertebral column and/or the sacrum. Mobility losses in these tissues may cause extra stimuli which have to be processed by the central nervous system. Treatment of these tissues may therefore reduce the number of disturbing stimuli, which consequentially leads to an improved balance in stimuli processing. In that way, it is possible for the osteopath to positively influence the sleep, mood and overall development of the child.

There are many indications wherein osteopathy may be beneficial as a treatment, especially for children with a disability. Although some indications already have been mentioned, we will provide a larger list of indications:

- issues with swallowing or sucking
- reflux problems
- recovery issues after an operation or trauma
- delay in sensory and motor development
- recurring inflammation (such as inflammation in the ear and in the respiratory and urinary tract)
- behavioral problems and concentration/focus issues
- fatigue
- digestive issues, stool problems
- pain complaints
- joint complaints

An overview of the activities of our practice concerning treatment of disabled children can be found in this brochure.


The newborn
Children aged 5-12 years
Puberty and young adolescents
The child with a disability

Bas and his sister Fenna have been supported by osteopathy from their first years of life. Photo’s of Bas and Fenna in their early years can be seen above, below photo’s recently made of Bas and Fenna.