The Pro

Therapist guides children whose physical development is delayed

Ms Eudora Tang loves her work as she can provide relief to anxious parents and bring smiles to children.
Ms Eudora Tang loves her work as she can provide relief to anxious parents and bring smiles to children.ST PHOTO: DON CHI

Therapist guides children whose physical development is delayed

Q Working in paediatric physiotherapy is more than...

A Cuddling babies and cooing at their cuteness.

Babies and children who are in hospital could be very unwell or chronically ill. They could be on the road to recovery or may never recover. I deal with these sobering facts on a daily basis.

Q Children's motor development is fascinating because...

A It showcases the interactions of skeletal muscles and integration of all the complex processes of the central nervous system to produce coordinated movements.

From birth to a year old, a child's motor development will take him from a foetal position to standing upright against gravity. We often assume that children will learn how to walk or stand without their legs flailing in an uncontrolled manner. But this is not so for those with neurological conditions.

  • Bio Box

  • EUDORA TANG

    Age: 30

    Occupation: Senior physiotherapist at the National University Hospital's Rehabilitation Centre

    Ms Tang graduated from Nanyang Polytechnic with a diploma in physiotherapy in 2009 and obtained her bachelor's degree in applied science (physiotherapy) from the University of Sydney in 2010.

    She said her foray into paediatrics was serendipitous.

    In 2012, she was assigned to the paediatrics department to cover for a colleague who had gone on maternity leave.

    Working with sick children, Ms Tang witnessed the sober facts about sickness and death.

    Said Ms Tang, who is single: "Each time I can directly impact a patient's life, I am spurred on by a sense of purpose and conviction that we live for a treasure beyond this world."

Q If I were to give an analogy for what I do, I would be a...

A Coach for children, guiding them in exercises and movements.

Q I see all types of cases from...

A Premature babies to teenagers.

I teach parents how to facilitate the development of movement in infants and young children who have delayed physical milestones due to medical conditions.

I work with children who have fractures, walk on tiptoe or with their feet turned inwards.

I treat children with cancer, heart, liver or kidney conditions who need supervised exercises.

I also see teenagers with sports injuries, weight issues, and muscle or joint pain.

Q A typical day would involve…

A Doing administrative tasks, attending meetings or teaching sessions, and seeing patients.

Q One little-known fact about rehabilitation for children with neurological conditions is...

A Paediatric rehabilitation is most beneficial for brain-injured children aged between three months and two years. It helps reduce the extent of their motor impairments.

Q I love patients who are...

A Cooperative. Younger ones may need more coaxing to cooperate.

Q Things that put a smile on my face are...

A When patients have recovered or when those with delayed mobility achieve a milestone. I am excited to see a child on his feet after having to be carried around.

Q I wouldn't trade places for the world because...

A My interaction with children communicates hope and love, provides relief to anxious parents and brings smiles to young ones.

Q My best tip...

A Parents should get medical help when they see anything unusual about their child's movements.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 11, 2017, with the headline 'She helps kids move better'. Print Edition | Subscribe