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Developmental delay

Children progress through various stages of growth from birth through to young adulthood.


During these periods of growth, with opportunity and experience, they develop physical (gross and fine motor) skills which mature and become more refined over time.

Whilst there are age-related milestones (“Developmental Milestones”) that can be referred to, the speed at which children achieve these can vary significantly, and so some delay or deviation from these is not immediately concerning.


However, on occasion, children may present as 'delayed' in a number of milestones and so may benefit from additional input from physiotherapy and/or occupational therapy services.

Additionally, some children, who are for example born prematurely, may require on-going support form physiotherapy and occupational therapy services to ensure they achieve their milestones. Similarly, children with certain long-standing conditions may also present with these 'delays' and require more frequent input from physiotherapy and/or occupational therapy services.

What you can do to help

  • Consider the child’s age and stage of development related to milestones, as their physical ability should correlate with their learning levels, e.g. if a 5 year old child is learning at 2.5 year old level, it would be anticipated that they would experience some physical delay in their skills in line with this.

  • Increase the child’s activity levels and provide them with opportunities which encourage natural development of skills, in line with their appropriate developmental level.

  • Take a look at the Parent Leaflets available from the Association of Paediatric Chartered Physiotherapists, in particular:-
    'Awake Time Ideas' (aimed at premature infants), Promoting Physical Development: Lying to Sitting Babywalkers - are they necessary? and Choosing footwear for Children.

  • Research and consider attending a local child 'sensory' group(s)​.

Disclaimer - Always seek the advice of your doctor/physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on the internet.

Need more

If you have tried all the suggestions above but require further support, contact us on the link below.

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