Physiotherapists are movement experts who work with children of all abilities in reaching their full potential.
Whether you need a one-off professional assessment or ongoing support for your baby or child’s motor skill development, we can tailor a program to suit you.
gross motor delay
Delay is a term used when a child is developing skills more slowly than other children, such as rolling, sitting, crawling and walking. There are many causes of gross motor delay; physiotherapists are skilled at identifying and treating impairments that contribute to gross motor delay.
Some children are born with syndromes that make moving and learning motor skills more difficult, for example, children who have Down Syndrome have decreased strength and biomechanical problems, and children who have a Muscular Dystrophy can have muscular wasting or weakness.
pre-term birth or low birth weight babies
Babies who are born preterm often need extra support in developing early motor skills due to their early life course. Some babies have complications associated with prematurity that can effect their motor development. Developmental surveillance is often recommended, which involves performing professional assessments at key times in the first years of life. Prevention of motor problems is better than trying to fix them later.
missed or asymmetrical milestones
While milestones like rolling, sitting, crawling and walking are relatively common amongst babies, some babies skip certain milestones or choose different (usually asymmetrical) ways of moving. This can indicate there is a physical restriction or weakness in the body, such as a lack of body rotation or low tone. A professional assessment is recommended.
Some toddlers choose to walk on their toes persistently, which can interfere with balance, as well as result in leg and foot pain. Treatment by a physiotherapist can help address and prevent these problems, as well as maintain flexibility in the surrounding joints and muscles.
Some babies are born with or sustain damage to their developing brain around the time of birth. This is known as Cerebral Palsy and can effect a baby’s movement, muscle tone, reflexes, posture, coordination and balance. Physiotherapists can provide life-long, individualised support.
Babies who spend time in hospital due to a medical or congenital problem, such as Congenital Heart Disease, have an increased chance of gross motor delay. They can develop restrictions in their body from being inactive for a long time. Some children need help getting stronger after an illness or accident.
plagiocephaly or torticollis
Babies have soft heads that can be vulnerable to the forces of gravity. A tight neck muscle or flat spot on a baby’s head can indicate or contribute to musculoskeletal asymmetry throughout their body, and interfere with a baby’s ability to learn and perform some motor skills.
Variations in bony development can be concerning for parents, and may include curly toes, pigeon toes, bow-legs, flat feet, or knock-knees. Babies who have delayed motor skills, or children who have difficulty with frequent falls, poor balance or coordination should have a professional assessment. In these cases, targeted physical programs can help.
sensory processing disorders
Some babies and young children have difficulty processing the information that is gathered from the environment or their body by their sensory systems, including the vestibular (movement), proprioceptive (muscles and joints), or tactile (touch) systems. This can make moving and participating in physical activity very difficult.
As allied health practitioners, physiotherapists strive to work alongside local health service providers to improve the health and wellbeing of individuals in the community.
We participate in team-based community care alongside general practitioners, occupational therapists and speech pathologists for children from birth to school-age, and welcome referrals from these professionals.
Here we are: notes for living on planet earth
On our planet, there are people. One people is a person. You are a person.
O. Jeffers / 2017