Why would my baby or toddler need to be seen by a skilled Pediatric Physical Therapist?
1. "My baby has a flat head."
Babies heads are supposed to be nice and round. If you notice flattening of your babies head, that may be a sign that they are not getting enough tummy time or that they have torticollis. (see below)
2. "My baby is showing early signs of a hand preference."
Babies do not show hand preference until they are 14-16 months of age. If your baby is showing early signs of favoring a hand or leg, this may be cause for a concern regarding your babies gross motor skills. Asymmetric (not equal on both sides) movement patterns are a clinical clue for a motor disorder.
Torticollis or "twisted neck" is when your baby has tight muscles in their neck, which cause your baby to hold their neck in an abnormal posture. This posture makes it hard for the baby to fully turn their neck to both sides. It also sets babies up for developing asymmetric movement patterns and performing motor skills with poor quality.
4. "My baby is not rolling or sitting on their own yet."
If you notice your baby is not rolling or sitting when they should be, it is worth having an evaluation by a skilled Pediatric Physical Therapist who can determine the cause or reason behind a motor delay.
This website which is approved by the American Academy of Pediatrics as well as the American Physical Therapy Association can help you understand when babies should be doing certain motor milestones.
5. "My baby is late with some gross motor skills."
See reason above.
6. "My baby is not walking yet."
Babies walk on average by 14 months of age. Some babies are simply just "late walkers" and their is no concern. Sometimes there is a reason for late walking and this can be addressed by a skilled Pediatric Physical Therapist.
7. "My baby prefers only looking towards one direction or keeps their head tilted one way."
If you notice this, your baby may have "Torticollis," see #3 above.
8. My baby gets upset when placed on their belly for tummy time.
Supervised Tummy time is so important for your baby and should be started immediately at birth.
Listen to my radio interview to learn the importance of tummy time!
9. "I want to ensure that my baby is on the right track."
Pediatric Physical Therapists are experts in motor development and motor milestones. They can help you determine that your baby is on the right track. They can also give you activities to practice with your baby that ensure your baby stays on track!
10. "My pediatrician says we should 'wait and see'."
This is heard way too many times from patients' parents. They were told by their pediatrician that the child may just "grow out of it" and it can just be "watched." Often times, it becomes too late for babies, because they form habits very quickly. Several months wait can create a "lifetime" of problems for a child later on.
*Pediatricians are strongly respected as experts in the medical field pertaining to babies.
The interesting fact is that most Pediatricians receive only very limited information and education on typical and atypical development of the baby (on average involving less than 10 hours on education.) Whereas this is the main focus of Pediatric Physical Therapists. They receive many, many hours of training, yearly continuing education, and countless observations of typical and atypical gross motor skills. Why wait when you can see a trained expert who can come up with an immediate plan that will- in the end- only help your baby?
Please don't hesitate to reach out to me at Marita.Black@gmail.com for help in supporting your little one! I am available to perform consults in both the NYC area and NJ.
*Please reach out to your pediatrician for medical advice. This post is not a substitute for discussion with your pediatrician.