Developmental Paediatrics (Child Development) is concerned with the way children mature, from birth until adulthood. It includes gross and fine motor skills, hearing, communication, vision, fine movements, social behaviour, learning and play. Paediatric Physiotherapists are most concerned with gross motor skills but consider the whole development of a child when assessing and treating.
A child may be given a diagnosis of developmental delay if they are late in meeting developmental milestones i.e. they achieve certain developmental skills later than the predicted age.
Often parents have concerns about their children's development when they see other children of a similar age reaching milestones before their child. Pressure at mother-baby groups can enhance these concerns. It is important to keep in mind that there is a range of ages that a child will achieve each milestone, For example, some children may walk as early as 11 months while others may not walk until they are 16 months old; both are within normal limits.
Examples of developmental milestones:
|1 month||Turns head to one side when on tummy|
|2 months||Holds head up for short periods|
|3 months||Kicks legs vigorously, either alternately or together|
|4 months||Rolls from back to side|
|5 months||Lifts legs up whilst lying on back, and plays with feet|
|6 months||Sits with minimal support|
|7 months||Sits without support|
|8 months||Starting to get into crawling position|
|9 months||Will bear weight well through legs in standing|
|11 months||Stands with support|
|12 months||Pulls to stand at furniture and walk sideways holding onto furniture|
Whilst Physiotherapists are primarily concerned with the development of body postures and large movements (gross motor skills), they need a thorough understanding of the way children develop all their skills in order to assess or treat a baby or child with suspected developmental problems. The Physiotherapists at KidsPhysio have a wealth of experience working with children so understand normal and abnormal child development.
If there are concerns regarding a baby’s, toddlers or child’s gross motor development, physiotherapy should ideally start as early as possible. Unfortunately, NHS paediatric physiotherapy waiting lists in some regions are very long, and children can wait until they are almost one year old before they can access physiotherapy. Kids Physio can offer early appointments, to provide advice and/or treatment whilst you wait for your child to be seen by the NHS therapist.