Important Pediatric Physical Therapy Milestones

Important Pediatric Physical Therapy Milestones | District Speech & Language Therapy | Washington D.C. & Arlington VA

As a parent, you want the best for your child.

This includes ensuring they are developing at an appropriate rate for their age, and they are reaching important developmental milestones at a rate comparable to their peers.

We’re District Speech, and we offer pediatric physical therapy in Washington DC.

This includes assessments of whether your child is meeting these milestones, and treatment plans if they appear to be falling behind.

Today we’re going to have a look at some physical therapy milestones for children, and what happens when they’re not reached.

What Is A Pediatric Physical Therapy Milestone?

Pediatric developmental milestones are behaviors one would expect to see a child be able to perform at various points in time.

Physical therapy milestones are generally related to skills such as crawling, sitting up, and walking without assistance.

Other examples of pediatric milestones may include factors related to speech and communication or coordination.

Pediatric Physical Therapy Milestones

In this section, we will look at when certain common milestones should be reached, and by which age.

Keep reading to learn more.

6 Months Old

By 6 months of age, your baby should be able to:

  • Sit up with support, and eventually sit independently
  • Roll from front to back, and also back to front

If these milestones are not reached it could result in:

  • The delayed ability for independent play
  • Poor muscle development, especially related to motion

12 Months Old

By one year of age, your baby should be:

  • Imitating an adult while rolling a ball
  • Crawling on their belly
  • Sitting up without help
  • Moving forward on their hands and knees
  • Moving into different positions, including sitting, all fours, and lying on their stomach
  • Walking using furniture for support
  • Taking a couple of steps without help or support
  • Rolling a ball (mimicking caregivers or older children)

Failure to reach these developmental goals may indicate:

  • Delay of play skills
  • Delayed development of muscles
  • Poor sensory development, as a result of being unable to interact with toys and other objects
  • Difficulty with how to learn to walk

18 Months Old

Between 12 and 18 months, some milestones your child should be reaching include:

  • Sitting up, crawling, and walking
  • Walking; will still use a broad based gait for extra support and balance
  • Pushing (but not kicking) a ball

If these achievements are not met, it could lead to:

  • Poor muscle development
  • Trouble interacting with the environment
  • Delayed skills related to play

physical development milestones that your child should be meeting | District Speech & Language Therapy | Washington D.C. & Arlington VA

2 Years Old

By the time your child reaches two years of age, they should be able to:

  • Walk and turn corners
  • Run
  • Carry or pull a toy while walking
  • Climb onto furniture, without help from a caregiver
  • Walk on steps
  • Move to pick up toys without falling

If these markers are not met, it could indicate:

  • A lack of muscle development, especially muscles needed for running and jumping
  • Limited ability for social interaction
  • Inability to interact with the environment and play independently

3 Years Old

Once a child is three years of age, they should be able to:

  • Stand on one foot, by imitating someone else
  • Imitate simple arm movements
  • Climb a ladder or jungle gym
  • Pedal a tricycle
  • Walk on stairs, going up or down
  • Jump up and down
  • Walk on their tip toes

The inability to do these things may result in:

  • Fewer opportunities to interact with others socially
  • Decreased development of bodily awareness
  • Trouble using playground equipment
  • Lowered confidence
  • Trouble interacting with other children, especially in environments which call for active play

What If My Child Isn’t Meeting These Milestones?

Every child develops at different rates, of course.

These milestones aren’t meant to be precise.

However, some parents read these milestones and, noticing their child is a bit behind, worry they may need autism screening or have a developmental disability.

But don’t worry.

If your child is a week or two behind schedule, it’s not generally cause for concern.

Likewise, if your child is a couple weeks ahead of schedule, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re some sort of child prodigy super genius.

However, if your child is falling more than a couple of weeks behind, it’s a good idea to speak with a pediatric physical therapist.

That’s true too if you notice your child isn’t making any progress at all in a given area.

For example, we know that a child should be able to pull themselves up to a standing position by about 12 months.

If you notice they’re trying but struggling a little bit, it doesn’t hurt to give it some time.

On the other hand, if a milestone has come and gone and they show little progress, it could be a sign of a greater issue.

At that point, it’s a good idea to…

Book Your Appointment With District Speech Today

At District Speech we have local physical therapists on staff who can help assess how your child is doing at reaching developmental milestones.

If you are noticing your little one isn’t developing at a rate appropriate to their age, one of our qualified physical therapists can do an assessment and help develop a treatment plan to help them get back on track.

Contact us today for more information or to book a consultation.

District Speech and Language Therapy
1300 I St NW, #400E,
Washington, DC 20005


District Speech and Language Therapy specializes in speech therapy, physical therapy, and occupational therapy solutions, for both children and adults, in the Washington D.C and the Arlington Virginia areas.