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General Development Guidelines

 

Birth to 2 Months

  • Raises head slightly off floor or bed when on stomach
  • Holds up head momentarily when supported
  • Follows an object (visually tracks) to/past midline
  • Alternates kicking legs when on back
  • Arm thrusts in play
  • Brings hand to mouth


3-5 Months

  • Lifts head and chest when on stomach (props on forearms)
  • Head control improving (slight head lag noted in pull to sit)
  • Some head bobbing in supported sitting
  • Rolls from side to side
  • Rolls from stomach to back
  • Sits briefly with arm support
  • Random batting at objects
  • Accidental transfer of toy from hand to hand
  • Hands to midline
  • Reaches for/grasps object

6-8 Months

  • Reaches for objects on stomach
  • Pivots around when on stomach
  • Pulls self forward on stomach
  • Rolls from back to stomach
  • Sits alone briefly
  • Assumes quadruped (hands and knees) and rocks
  • Moves from sitting to lying on stomach
  • Stands with support

9-11 Months

  • Sits alone with trunk rotation
  • Pivots and scoots in sitting
  • Creeps or crawls
  • Pulls to stand
  • Cruises
  • Stands alone momentarily

12-15 Months

  • Assumes tall kneeling
  • Walks on knees
  • Walks independently without support
  • Able to stand without support
  • Creeps up stairs
  • Able to start, stop and turn without falling when walking

16-18 Months

  • Walks up one step at a time with hand held or railing
  • Creeps down stairs
  • Walks with heel-to-toe pattern, seldom falls
  • Walks sideways and backward
  • Runs stiffly
  • Stands on one foot with help
  • Kicks large ball forward after demonstration
  • Manages riding toys


19-24 Months

  • Walks down one step at a time with rail or hand held
  • Squats in play and stands back up
  • Jumps in place
  • Kicks a stationary ball
  • Jumps off 12-inch box with one foot leading
  • Walks on balance beam with one foot on and one foot off

24-29 Months

  • Walks on balance beam with one hand held
  • Stands on balance beam alone
  • Walks up stairs one step at a time without a railing
  • Runs well
  • Briefly stands on one foot
  • Jumps from one step with feet together
  • Throws ball overhead

2.5-3 Years

  • Walks up step over step with railing
  • Walks down stairs step by step without railing
  • Balances on one foot 2-3 seconds
  • Jumps forward at least 12 inches
  • Walks on balance beam alone
  • Walks on toe tips when asked

3-4 Years

  • Walks on balance beam sideways
  • Catches a bounced ball
  • Rides a tricycle
  • Hops on one foot 2-5 times
  • Balances on one foot 2-5 seconds
  • Consecutive jumping
  • Walks up stairs step over step alone
  • Walks down stairs step over step with a railing

4-5 Years

  • Balances on one foot 4-8 seconds
  • Walks on balance beam in all directions
  • Walks down stairs step over step alone
  • Kicks a rolling ball
  • Catches large and small ball with outstretched arms
  • Throws a small ball overhand

5-6 Years

  • Balances on one foot 10 seconds
  • Skips
  • Rides a bike with or without training wheels
  • Begins to jump rope
  • Hops on one foot 10 times
  • Catches bounced or thrown ball with hands
  • Walks on heels when asked

There are a variety of reasons a child may need physical therapy. Some common diagnoses seen by pediatric physical therapists include:

  • PTbabyCerebral palsy
  • Spina bifida
  • Hydrocephalus
  • Stroke
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Developmental delay
  • Coordination and balance disorders
  • Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Scoliosis
  • Tight heel cords
  • Muscular dystrophy
  • Amputations
  • Torticollis
  • Musculoskeletal injuries

Children may need physical therapy for any number of reasons, including if you answer "yes" to any of the following questions:

  • Is your child tripping or falling down a lot?
  • Have trouble sitting up straight?
  • Get tired quickly while playing?
  • Complain of pain in joints, feet or muscles?
  • Toe walking?
  • Appear "floppy" or low tone?
  • Have an abnormal head shape continuing beyond 6 weeks of age?
  • Behind in age-appropriate gross motor skills such as rolling, crawling or walking?
  • Sustained an injury such as broken arm or leg, sprained knee or ankle, had surgery, etc.?
  • Have a consistent head tilt to one side?
  • Have abnormal muscle tone?

There are many benefits of pediatric physical therapy. Some include:

  • Improved gross motor development
  • Improved balance
  • Improved coordination
  • Increased muscular strength and range of motion
  • Improved walking pattern
  • Increased endurance
  • Normalization of muscle tone
  • Promotion of healthy and active lifestyle
  • Prevention of injuries
  • Maximized independence

Pediatric physical therapy can provide great results in:

  • pt-page-picture-2015Muscle control and coordination
  • Stretching and lengthening of tight muscles and tendons
  • Strengthening weak muscles
  • Improved endurance
  • Gross motor development throughout body
  • Gait and mobility training with or without adaptive equipment
  • Balance and coordination
  • Prevention of musculoskeletal injuries
  • Promotion of a healthy, active lifestyle
  • Core strengthening
  • Myofascial release
  • Family and client education

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General Development Guidelines

Children develop and grow at different rates. However, there are some general guidelines that may help you assess your child’s development. Listed below is an abbreviated list of developmental milestones to watch for as your child grows. If you are concerned about your child’s development, talk with your pediatrician or contact us.

For a month-by-month breakdown, view the guidelines below.

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