Physical Therapy

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When should a parent pursue Physical Therapy for their child?

A child should be seen if...

Birth to 2 months:

  • Doesn't lift head in prone position (while lying on stomach)
  • Does not turn head to one side in prone position
  • Does not turn head to both sides in supine position (lying on back)

3 months:

  • Does not hold head up 90 degrees in prone position (lying on stomach)
  • Does not extend both legs or kick reciprocally
  • Does not roll to back when placed on their side

4 months:

  • Does not place weight on forearms in prone position (lying on stomach)
  • Does not rotate or extend head
  • Is unable to grasp a rattle
  • Cannot bring both hands together

5 months:

  • Does not roll over one way
  • Does not hold head up when pulled to sitting
  • Is unable to hold head steady in supported sitting position
  • Does not bear weight on legs

6 months:

  • Is unable to keep head level with body when pulled to a sitting position
  • Does not demonstrate balance reactions
  • Cannot bear weight on hands in prone position (lying on stomach)
  • Does not move head actively in supported sitting position

7 months:

  • Does not roll over either way
  • Does not bear weight on legs
  • Cannot lift head or assist when pulled to sitting position
  • Demonstrates little balance reactions or protective extension of arms

8 months:

  • Does not roll over both ways
  • Cannot sit with little or no support
  • Does not hold weight on one hand while in the prone position (lying on stomach)
  • Cannot bear weight on legs and bounce

10 months:

  • Cannot get to sitting position without assistance
  • Does not assume crawling position (hand knee position)
  • Does not show interest/motivation to crawl
  • Cannot sit on own without hand support

12 months:

  • Does not pull to stand using furniture
  • Cannot switch positions from sitting to prone
  • Does not creep on hand and knees
  • Cannot pivot while in sitting position to retrieve toy
  • Cannot pass an object from one hand to the other
  • Cannot stand holding on to someone or something
  • Cannot pick up small objects

15 months:

  • Does not walk with one hand held
  • Cannot stand alone well
  • Does not demonstrate balance reaction while in kneeling position
  • Does not walk alone one to two steps
  • Does not demonstrate motor planning by climbing on furniture
  • Has a hard time picking up small objects

18 months:

  • Does not attempt to creep upstairs
  • Does not walk without support
  • Cannot throw a ball
  • Does not bend down to retrieve objects
  • Does not demonstrate balance reaction in standing

24 months:

  • Does not run
  • Cannot walk upstairs with one hand held
  • Cannot carry large toy while walking
  • Does not squat in play
  • Cannot retrieve a toy off of the floor from standing position
  • Does not climb onto furniture, turn and sit
  • Cannot build tower of six blocks
  • Does not use utensils well

30 months:

  • Does not jump in place with both feet
  • Does not stand from sitting by rolling on side
  • Cannot catch a large ball
  • Has difficulty with gait and balance
  • Does not walk downstairs using rail for support
  • Does not have wide range of movement
  • Does not run and stop without holding
  • Does not avoid objects when running

36 months:

  • Cannot kick stationary ball
  • Is not able to stand on one foot for two seconds
  • Cannot build tower of 9 blocks
  • Cannot complete 5-6 piece puzzle
  • Is not using utensils properly
  • Does not attempt to ride tricycle
  • Does not demonstrate grasp of crayon

36-48 months (3-4 years):

  • Cannot jump forward using two foot take-off and landing
  • Is unable to run and stop within two steps without falling
  • Is unable to walk on a line backwards
  • Is unable to hop 5 times on one foot, then switch

48-60 months (4-5 years):

  • Does not imitate body movements (up to four positions)
  • Does not complete sit-ups
  • Is unable to complete a somersault
  • Is unable to gallop

Signs a child may need Physical Therapy:

  1. Tiring easily or having low endurance
  2. Difficulty balancing when standing or having a tendency to lean on objects or walls
  3. Moving in an uncoordinated fashion
  4. Having poor balance during physical activities such as riding a bicycle, going up and down stairs, or jumping.
  5. Trouble catching oneself when falling
  6. Being clumsy, usually tripping or bumping into objects
  7. Is excessively fidgety with low muscle tone
  8. Sitting in unusual positions to balance out the body
  9. Using one side of the body to assist the other side when performing physical tasks
  10. Have trouble moving one arm or leg across the center of the body