Pediatric Rehabilitation Medicine Practice Area


The vision for the specialty offers exciting new opportunities for physiatry and will be realized in different ways across the field's diverse practice settings. To help move the vision forward, AAPM&R has enlisted the assistance of member physiatrists to develop envisioned futures for practice areas addressing this key question:

How will practices look different in the future when aligned with this vision?

In Pediatric Rehabilitation Medicine, member physiatrists developed the following envisioned future based on the input from other physiatrists:

In the Future ... The pediatric physiatrist is recognized as the essential physician expert for children and youth with acquired and congenital disabilities with the main purpose to optimize function and life transitions across the care continuum and into the community.  

As the advocate for and leader of family-centered care, the pediatric rehabilitation medicine (PRM) physician promotes active participation of the child, youth, and family through the processes of evaluation, diagnosis, and management of the child or youth’s disability. This active engagement increases the child’s and youth’s functional capacity and encourages self-advocacy. PRM involvement early in the life of the child, early in the course of the acquired or congenital disability and/or in the critical and acute care settings, establishes family and care team relationships which leads to the best care plan spanning prehabilitation through adulthood. Pediatric physiatrists champion the transdisciplinary approach, providing evidence-based and goal-directed care across all environments. PRM physicians extend beyond the medical system to partner with education, social, and community services.

This practice area creates value for the child/youth, family, team, and system by improving outcomes for physical and cognitive function including more effective communication about prognosis and treatment, reducing condition-specific complications, and improving timeliness, appropriate treatments and equipment, and satisfaction. Standardized care pathways are developed utilizing innovative best practices and technologies. The realized value of PRM services enables new opportunities for leadership in systems and expanded areas of care. These changes drive increased pediatric physiatrist satisfaction and reinvigorate the workforce.

How will the Academy be supporting this? 

  • Working with experts to identify ways to increase workforce interest in pediatric physiatry so that we can attract and train physicians to the field to fill existing and future positions
  • Identify, develop, and lead valued models for population health for pediatric rehabilitation to expand across community and across care continuum
  • Collect data and outcomes and, when possible, use data to support the role of Pediatric Rehabilitation Medicine in identified and valued models.
  • Create consensus among pediatric rehabilitation physicians regarding appropriate next steps to address PRM training barriers which negatively impact the PRM workforce.