Teaching your child to walk is an experience that you will remember for the rest of your life. Those first steps are part of a fleeting moment for many parents. The first steps mean a huge step toward mounting independence after months of being completely reliant on you for every need and whim.
Sure, your toddler will always depend on you to meet all of his or her needs, but those needs must be met on the fly from the first step forward. Meals, bottles, diapers, and other items become a fun catch-me-if-you-can game.
For many parents, the first steps are a hazy recollection. It’s difficult to keep and memory apart as the child progresses from rolling to crawling to walking. Others, on the other hand, have less pleasant memories.
When a child is a late walker, his or her enthusiasm is frequently overshadowed by fear and dread. Questions about proper growth overshadow the pleasure of making your baby stay a baby for a little longer.
When this happens, turning to physical therapy can help. No parent should ever feel left alone with a developmental concern. Working with a physical therapist can give you the peace of mind you need to care for your child without constant questions of their ability to move forward.
A developmental delay occurs when a child has difficulty walking. A infant should be able to walk by the time he or she is 12 months old.
Although we appreciate the concern around developmental delays, they aren’t inherently cause for concern; there are a variety of explanations why your child might be behind in walking.
As stated by ChoosePT,
“A developmental delay is diagnosed when a child is assessed as being more than ‘a little behind’ in performing everyday skills. The term defines a substantial lag in performance, and may be used to describe any type of delay in 1 or more of the following 5 skill areas:
- Fine and gross motor (movement)
- Cognitive (thinking)
- Social and emotional
- Speech and language
- Activities of daily living
These delays may or may not result from a specific medical condition. For example, a child with Down syndrome is identified at or before birth as having the syndrome, but also can have developmental delay. This fact holds true for any child with a disability, such as autism or cerebral palsy. Children without a specific medical condition, however, may still have a developmental delay. Early assessment is key. Parents should express any concerns, even the slightest ones, to their pediatrician or physical therapist.”
Delayed walking is a common developmental delay that we see in toddlers, and we have helped many of our pediatric patients get moving. If you think your child may be behind, don’t hesitate to contact us.
Here are some tips you can try at home to help your child with their walking abilities in the comfort of your own home. Your child’s physical therapist may also suggest these alongside other therapeutic methods during their treatment.
- Engage in activities that require a lot of up-and-down movements. Reaching overhead and picking things up from the floor are great ways to help your infant build core strength.
- Remove all toys from the floor and store their things in easy-to-reach storage solutions around the room’s perimeter. This will prevent their few steps from being obstructed by toys, making it more appealing to walk rather than crawl to their destination.
- Encourage barefoot exploration as much as possible. Sometimes, shoes and socks can actually be a disruption to ideal developmental steps. Being barefoot can help them develop more tactile awareness, and it may help them feel more stable on their feet.
It can be difficult to take life one step at a time when developmental success is questioned. Nothing is more difficult for a parent than seeing other children push past your own child, leaving your child behind as they grow at a slower rate than is normal or anticipated.
It’s important to note that being slower doesn’t always mean never in these situations. Just because your child is growing at a slower rate doesn’t mean they won’t make those strides in the future.
In fact, there are many late walkers who are able to overcome the delay and catch up with their peers without concern.
If you are concerned about your child not taking their first steps on target, then it may be time to talk to a physical therapist about their development. There are also several things you can do at home to encourage them to take those first steps.
If your child isn’t taking their first steps on time, seek help from a physical therapist. The worst feeling is having to worry about your child’s health. Remember that your child’s late development does not imply that he or she will not grow.
Talking to a professional pediatric therapist about healthy strategies can help bring calmness to your life and help your child with taking their first steps. If physical therapy is something that is determined to be helpful to your child, then it is worth exploring the option as early as possible.
Contact Libre Physical Therapy for more information regarding the use of pediatric therapy to help your child take his or her first steps.