Growing up is hard work. Children are born into the world with barely any skills to their name. With their first breath they develop the ability to cry out for help, and quickly develop the skills necessary to drink milk and seek support from Mom and Dad. As things get moving, however, the skills start to add up—and quick. Any parent can attest to the way that time flies when a child is first learning how to move. Babies go from cries to babble to imitating words in a matter of months, and the muscle development and movements develop at just as quick of a pace as intellectual growth.
Gross motor function starts to develop in earnest at just a few months of age. Babies start learning how to roll over, and then soon after that how to crawl and stand. By the time infants are walking around the house and climbing into trouble, their gross motor functions are well developed.
Children who are born with special needs may have difficulty developing even basic gross motor skills, however. This can create a lot of questioning and uncertainty for the parents, but the reality is that if your child isn’t developing gross motor skills on schedule, there are a lot of strategies that can help them overcome those barriers.
Working with a physical therapist from an early age is a great strategy to help improve your child’s development of gross motor skills, helping them to be the active and playful child they are inside.
The Need for Pediatric Physical Therapy
There are many reasons as to why a child may need support with physical therapy from an early age. For some children, trouble with gross motor skills happens as a result of being born prematurely, or having any sort of neurological impairment, whether as a result of birth complications or a genetic disorder.
Additional common reasons that pediatric physical therapy is recommended for include:
- Developmental delayed milestones
- Coordination disorder
- Abnormal muscle tone
- Genetic disorders, including down syndrome
Pediatric physical therapists are highly trained to work with children of all ages. To help encourage the development of gross motor skills, your physical therapist will help your child with basic muscle movements, from being able to lift their head and put weight on their arms and legs to figuring out the coordination necessary to roll over and begin to crawl.
It is never too early to start working with a pediatric physical therapist. Research has shown over and over again the benefits of early intervention with developmental delays. The earlier you are able to start targeting muscle development and growth, and to begin working in earnest to improve coordination and muscle function, the more likely your child will be able to experience a more typical development.
Depending on the issues experienced by the child, pediatric therapy may be recommended as early as six weeks after birth.
Rolling, crawling, walking and jumping—these are the actions that define infant to so many of us. For a child to be deprived of the fun in learning how their body moves, and to be unable to explore the world around them due to stiffness or weakness in their muscle development, is unfair for the child and heartbreaking for the parent.
Working with a physical therapist can be the difference you are looking for in helping your child to experience a more standard developmental schedule. For more information or to schedule a consultation, contact us.