skip to Main Content

Does My Child Need Physical Therapy?

Pediatric physical therapists address underlying deficits in infants and children that lead to limitations in their mobility and gross motor skills. In infants, physical therapists work on their gross motor skill development in terms of learning how to move in their environment (rolling, sitting, pull to stand, etc). Physical therapists work with children on achieving higher level gross motor skills such as running, jumping and walking up and down stairs. They also address other movement concerns including limitations in balance, coordination and core strength.

So what exactly are gross motor skills?

Gross motor skills involve using large muscles of the torso, arms and legs to complete whole body movements, such as throwing a ball or doing jumping jacks. Children achieve different gross motor milestones over time and rely on these skills to have successful experiences at school, on the playground and in the community. While there are gross motor developmental norms based on age, every child develops at a varying pace, and it can be hard not to compare your child to their peers. You may have noticed that your child has difficulty with some gross motor skills, but how do you know when they need physical therapy?

Below we list for you some signs that your child may need to see a physical therapist, as well as gross motor milestones for ages 1.5 to 6 years. If your child displays any of these signs or is falling behind meeting the gross motor milestones for their age, they may benefit from an evaluation by a physical therapist. Schedule your appointment here.

Here are some signs that may indicate that your child needs to see a physical therapist:

  • Your child is having difficulty returning to his/her previous level of function after a sports injury (i.e. limping, decreased flexibility, etc.)
  • Your child frequently falls, trips or seems to be off balance
  • Your child has difficulty sitting up straight while sitting on the floor, preferring to rest their head in their hands, or often slumps when sitting at a desk
  • Your child is displaying decreased strength (i.e. difficulty walking up and down stairs or getting up off the floor)
  • Your child has difficulty keeping up with his/her peers on the playground or at school during recess
  • Your child has difficulty with coordination of his/her movements including tasks such as jumping jacks
  • Your child chronically complains of pain in the same body part
  • Your child is developmentally delayed (see developmental norms below)
  • Your child walks on their toes most of the time for greater than 6 months

Gross Motor Developmental Norms: 

18 Months:

  • Sits, crawls, walks
  • Rolls a ball in imitation of an adult
  • Throws a ball forward
  • Stands on 1 foot with help

2 years:

  • Begins running
  • Carries large toy while walking
  • Climbs onto/down from furniture without assistance
  • Walks backward
  • Walks up/down steps with support
  • Picks up toys from the floor without falling over

3 years:

  • Climbs jungle gym and ladders
  • Walks up/down stairs using alternate feet
  • Jumps in place with two feet together
  • Able to walk on tip toes
  • Rides tricycle

4 years:

  • Balances on one foot for 5 seconds
  • Runs around obstacles
  • Kicks a ball forward
  • Hops on 1 foot
  • Jumps over an object and lands with both feet at the same time
  • Able to walk forward on a line

5 years:

  • Able to walk up stairs while holding an object
  • Skips forward after a demonstration
  • Catches a small ball using hands only
  • Walks backward, toe-heel
  • Jumps forward 10 times without falling
  • Hangs from a bar for at least 5 seconds
  • Does a somersault

6 years:

  • Runs lightly on toes
  • Walks on balance beam
  • Rides bicycle
  • Rhythmic skipping
  • Jumps rope
  • Demonstrates mature throwing and catching patterns

-Julie Butt, Physical Therapist

Back To Top

Patient Reviews

LLA Therapy

Patient Reviews

Crystal Scheibe

Great place, glad we found them. Been going to Medina over 2 months now and he loves Lauryn and Kyler. Wish they had more ABA therapy places available... live in Wooster and long drive everyday.

Karrie Swan LaRock

My 11 year old son has dyslexia and has made noticeable gains in working At LLA THERAPY. Katie is strong in her approach toward him and also keeps him comfortable enough to perform well. We will continue visiting both the Fairlawn and Hudson offices and recommend them highly.

Ron Monroe

My 9 year old just completed about 9 months of weekly speech sessions (due to his stuttering) with Matt Hagge at LLA and we are thrilled with the experience and results. What I thought might be a negative (what kid really wants to go to speech class?) was made very positive by Matt, and my son never hesitated or complained when we talked about class. He really enjoyed it and really took what Matt taught him to heart. His speech has been greatly improved and we definitely recommend LLA. Thank you so much!

Heather Dougherty-Pantoja

My son’s Occupational Therapist, Jess, is an amazing OT! She gives practical tips on working with my son at home and school!

Terri Apgar

I cannot say enough good things about LLA Therapy. My daughter was a client of Teal Simmons’ for approximately 2 years and was just released from speech therapy! She was diagnosed with Apraxia in 2015 and worked with Teal twice a week. Through Teal’s application of PROMPT therapy, my daughter had age-appropriate speech after one year. All of the staff we interacted with at LLA were absolutely wonderful. They really care about what they do and making sure your child achieves their goals.

Kelli Geisler Davisson

LLA Therapy has been an excellent experience for my son as well as my family! My son always asks, "When can I go see Ms. Jeannine again, is it Monday??" He has also made huge gains in only 5 months! I would highly recommend LLA and have already shared my experience with friends looking for services!

Victoria Hansford-Price

We are so grateful for our Speech Therapist Ms.Teal. We have seen a great improvement with our sons confidence and communication abilities since we have started "Prompt" therapy. What we love the most about LLA and Ms. Teal is that Kohl feels comfortable and relaxed which has played a critical role in his progress. Thank you Ms. Teal for all you have done.

Laura Lee Hogsett

They have helped in numerous ways. Speech, OT and behavioral. I've had numerous compliments on my son's progress thanks in very large part to LLA. I would recommend LLA before I recommend our local children's hospitals, though they are good, they don't have the staff that LLA does.

Amy Furukawa

We had a great experience with Matt Hagge at LLA! Our Middle School age son was becoming very conscious of his voice, which is nasal due to a cleft palate. Matt helped him to better form his sounds and project his voice in a way that makes the unavoidable nasality less noticeable.Our son is more confident and outgoing & even took on a speaking role in the church play. Matt has the perfect personality to relate with our son, and we would recommend him to anyone needing speech therapy services!

Jessica Havalotti

LLA Therapy has been an excellent experience for our daughter. I would highly recommend LLA. Miss Grace was so amazing and I can't believe how quickly our daughter showed improvement. Thank you!
Read More