Children might not meet developmental milestones like other children their age due to a number of reasons, including:
- Premature birth
- Complications during pregnancy or delivery
- Lack of opportunity – for example if a child is frequently unwell
- Learning difficulties
- Sensory difficulties
- History of trauma
- Disorders impacting on the nerves, muscles or bones
A physiotherapist, as part of a multidisciplinary team, can help to identify the underlying reason for motor delays.
A physiotherapist may provide strategies to promote motor development for young children in hospital, especially if they have had multiple admissions, multiple surgeries or long stays in hospital.
CHQ specialists can refer children to see a physiotherapist if there are concerns with their motor development. A child may be referred if they have an unusual walking pattern or if the child is late to sit, crawl or walk. A physiotherapist will help to understand why a child is having these difficulties and provide some strategies to improve their function.
The Infant Team sees children under 12 months with complex presentations. The clinic is held at the QCH and the team is made up of a physiotherapist, occupational therapist and speech pathologist. Only CHQ specialists can refer to this clinic.
Child Development Service
The Child Development Service is a community-based service with access to a full multidisciplinary team (physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech pathology, psychology, social work, dietetics, developmental paediatrician). This service helps you to understand your child, their strengths and weaknesses. It is a short-term, goal directed service designed to empower families with strategies to optimise their child’s development and participation. Medical officers including general practitioners can refer to this service.
Community Allied Health Service
This service has a Torticollis Clinic and a Gross Motor Clinic in the community. The Gross Motor Clinic sees children who have delays in just their motor skills like crawling, walking, running and jumping. The Torticollis Clinic sees babies who don’t have full movement in their neck. The physiotherapist will provide some short-term intervention and provide you with strategies to improve your child’s movement and participation.
Why do you need to see a physiotherapist?
A physiotherapist can help identify the underlying cause of motor delays, assist families to set goals and provide activities to help maximise your child’s function. Activities may target:
- teaching and practising motor skills
- muscle strength
- muscle length
- tone and spasticity
- joint range of movement
- posture and postural control
- using both sides of the body
- using senses to move (sensory-motor)
Equipment (and assistive technology) is sometimes helpful to progress family goals and minimise impact of long-term issues. Your physiotherapist can help identify if equipment will assist your child.
If your child requires ongoing intervention, your physiotherapist will help to link you with the most appropriate service or funding source (eg NDIS).
- prematurity and adverse neonatal events
- chronic neonatal lung disease
- high risk of cerebral palsy
- global developmental delays
- chromosomal anomalies
- autism spectrum disorder
- neurological disorders
- neuromuscular disorders