Physical Therapy

What is pediatric physical therapy?

physicaltherapyPediatric physical therapy helps children develop large or gross motor skills and builds muscle strength and flexibility to assist children in moving through their environment with the most efficiency. Physical therapists aid children with developmental milestones such as rolling, sitting, standing, crawling and walking, to name a few. In addition to this, we work on the quality of movement that your child has. For example, your child may be walking, but may do so on their toes or with their feet pointed inwards, which can be addressed with physical therapy. We work with children and their families to improve strength and endurance, range of motion, posture, balance, movement skills, motor planning and coordination. At the Chicago Pediatric Therapy & Wellness Center, our goal is to make every treatment session a fun and exciting learning experience to help children and their families accomplish their movement goals through play. Our gym and facilities were specifically designed with children of all ages and all abilities in mind.

What are some gross motor milestones my child should be meeting?

1 – 2 Months
  • Kicks feet reciprocally when on back
  • Brings hands within range of eyes and mouth
  • Moves head from side to side while lying on stomach
  • Head flops backward if unsupported
  • Keeps hands in fisted but can open and close easily
  • Can turn head fully to either side when lying on back
3 Months
  • Raises head and chest when lying on stomach, able to lift head 2-3” off of floor
  • Supports upper body with arms when lying on stomach
  • Stretches legs out and kicks reciprocally when lying on back
  • Opens and shuts hands
  • Pushes down through legs when feet are placed on a firm surface
  • Brings hand to mouth
  • Swipes dangling objects with hands held above them when lying on back
  • Grasps and shakes rattles briefly
  • Can roll to back when placed on side in both directions
4 Months
  • Straightens legs when feet touch a flat surface
  • Lifts head and chest off surface while propping on elbows during tummy time
  • Can bring both hands together at midline
  • Rolls to side lying from back
  • Can hold head up and look around when supported in sitting
5 Months
  • Rolls from tummy to back
  • Pulls self forward to sitting position when you hold baby’s hands and pull to sit from laying on back
6 – 7 Months
  • Rolls both ways (front to back, back to front)
  • Sits with, and then without, support of their hands
  • Supports whole weight on legs when held in standing position
  • Reaches for feet
  • Reaches with one hand
  • Transfers object from hand to hand in sitting and when on back
  • Uses raking grasp (not pincer)
  • Bears weight on open hands during tummy time
  • Demonstrates balance reactions in sitting, such as placing a hand to the side to catch themselves from falling
8 – 9 Months
  • Gets to sitting position without assistance from tummy
  • May crawl forward on belly by pulling with arms and pushing with legs
  • Assumes hands-and-knees position and may creep forward on hands and knees
  • Creeps on hands and knees supporting trunk on hands and knees
  • Pulls on furniture to stand up
  • Walks holding on to furniture with side stepping
10 – 11 Months
  • Stands momentarily without support
  • Briefly stands without support
  • Lowers self to floor with control
  • Takes steps with hands held
12 – 15 Months
  • Walks independently
  • Throws a ball forward
  • Walks sideways and backwards
  • Crawls up stairs
  • Plays with pull and push toys, such as a toddler grocery cart
15 – 18 Months
  • Walks up and down stairs with help
  • Seats self in a child-sized chair
  • Starts to crawl into car seat
  • Can pick up small objects between finger and thumb
  • Demonstrates balance reactions in standing
  • Can squat and play before standing up again
18 – 24 Months
  • Squats during play
  • Pulls toys behind them while walking
  • Tries to catch a ball with arms and body
  • Jumps with galloping motion
  • Uses legs to propel non-motorized, ride on toys
  • Walk up and down stairs when one hand being held by an adult
  • Carries large toy or several toys while walking
  • Begins to run
  • Stands on tiptoe
  • Kicks a ball
  • Climbs onto and down from furniture unassisted
  • Walks up and down stairs holding on to support
2 Years
  • Jumps in place with both feet
  • Climbs up and go down a toddler slide
  • Catches a large ball thrown from 2 feet away
  • Pedals tricycle
  • Stands briefly on one foot
  • Walks backwards
  • Goes upstairs and downstairs with support from railing only
  • Kicks ball forward
  • Throws ball overhand
  • Catches bounced ball most of the time
  • Moves forward and backward with agility
  • Can run around obstacles and stop with ease
3 Years
  • Pedals a tricycle
  • Catches an 8-inch ball thrown from 5 feet
  • Alternates feet going up and down stairs
  • Jumps forward 8 to 12 inches
  • Hops and stands on one foot up to five seconds
  • Builds a tower of 9 blocks
  • Completes a 5-6 piece puzzle
  • Uses utensils appropriately
  • Grasps and colors well with crayons
4-5 Years
  • Walks across a 4-inch balance beam
  • Kicks a ball rolling toward him or her
  • Stands on one foot for ten seconds or longer
  • Hops, somersaults
  • Swings, climbs with ease
  • May be able to skip