Women's and Children's Hospital, Adelaide
Physiotherapy - Children

Physiotherapy - Children

The Physiotherapy service provides high level physiotherapy assessment, advice and management for patients of the Women's and Children's Health Network. This includes a community physiotherapy service. Professional development for staff is strongly supported, to ensure physiotherapists are able to provide the best current treatment options for their patients.

Services are provided to patients attending specialist clinics, who are admitted to the hospital or who are referred for outpatient management. Patients may also be referred for management in the hospital's hydrotherapy facility.

Regular outreach services to the Northern Territory are conducted. Staff are continuously involved in research and service improvement activities. 

Senior physiotherapy staff are involved in the education and oversight of students from the University of South Australia and Flinders University of SA. The service provides approximately 80 student placements per year.

A community physiotherapy service is also provided.

Senior staff

Joanne Lawson
Manager of Physiotherapy
(08) 8161 7381

Angela Potter
Head of Unit, Respiratory Physiotherapy

Kelly Donnellan, Karen Schubert and Brett Herrmann
Head of Unit, Orthopaedic Physiotherapy
kelly.donnellan@sa.gov.au, karen.schubert@sa.gov.au and brett.herrmann@sa.gov.au

Kirstie Morgan
Head of Unit, Neurodevelopmental Physiotherapy

Respiratory Physiotherapy Unit

Physiotherapy staff within the Respiratory Physiotherapy Unit provide assessment, advice and management for a variety of conditions / presentations including:

  • short term (acute) illnesses (e.g. pneumonia, bronchiolitis)
  • long term (chronic) illnesses (e.g. cystic fibrosis, asthma)
  • after operations (e.g. chest,  abdominal surgeries)
  • after accidents (e.g. car crash)

Services are provided to patients who are

  • admitted to the hospital (inpatients)
  • outpatients (come into the hospital for an appointment)
  • admitted to our Hospital in the Home programme (for patients with cystic fibrosis).
  • Admitted to our Cystic Fibrosis Hospital in the Home programme.

Orthopaedic Physiotherapy Unit

The Orthopaedic Physiotherapy Unit provides assessment and management for a variety of musculoskeletal presentations.  In collaboration with Orthopaedic Surgery, the physiotherapy staff from the unit are the only recognised providers of club foot management in South Australia. The unit contributes to the state wide approach to burns and scar management for children, and provides outreach services to the Northern Territory.

Orthopaedic physiotherapists assess, diagnose and manage patients

  • following orthopaedic admission/surgery
  • with congenital orthopaedic conditions, post injury, or pain associated problems
  • with burn, scar management or splinting requirements
  • following trauma or plastic surgery
  • with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, post amputation, chronic fatigue syndrome, psychosomatic conditions and sports injuries.

Orthopaedic physiotherapists provide inpatient/outpatient treatments and hydrotherapy services for individuals and groups.

Neurodevelopmental Physiotherapy Unit

Physiotherapy staff within the Neurodevelopmental Physiotherapy Unit assess, manage and provide referral services for movement dysfunction in children with neurodevelopmental, neurological and neuromuscular impairments such as:

  • cerebral palsy
  • acquired brain injuries
  • delayed motor development
  • coordination difficulties.

Early education and therapy is provided for premature babies to aid their development.  Therapy begins in neonatal intensive care and continues through outpatient care.  Children receive therapy individually or attend groups including 'Babyswim', 'Fizzygym' and Minimal Motor Dysfunction Group.  Rehabilitation services are provided via the Paediatric Rehabilitation Unit.

How to access the service

For children with an orthopaedic condition, referrals are only accepted from accredited medical practitioners of the WCH.

For all other problems written referrals are accepted from WCH doctors and private paediatricians. We will let you know your appointment time once we have received the referral.


Weekdays 8am–4pm

Contact details

Unit Head

Joanne Lawson
Manager of Physiotherapy


Ground floor, Good Friday Building

Mailing address

Paediatric Allied Health
Women's and Children's Hospital
72 King William Road
North Adelaide
South Australia 5006


Ph (08) 8161 7381

Fax (08) 8161 7040

Email: joanne.lawson@sa.gov.au

last modified: 03 Sep 2020