Delayed Gross Motor Development

Gross motor development, or the ability to use the large muscles in the body to make big movements, such as running, kicking, sitting up, and throwing, can be widely varied when children are young. They may be hitting their gross motor development milestones early, right on time, a little late, or way late. If your child is behind the curve in more than one area of gross motor development – late in walking, sitting, and lifting, for instance, or unable to do those things – he may be said to have delayed gross motor development.

There are a number of factors contributing to gross motor development, including genetics, overall health, growth and changes in body proportions, environmental factors, and time spent in play activities. Children born with low muscle tone (hypotonia), neurologic challenges, or specific diagnoses such as cerebral palsy frequently have delayed gross motor development.

How can I help my child with delayed gross motor development?

Your pediatrician can help determine if your child has a diagnosis of developmental delay. Here at CTS, a physical therapist can then assess your child’s muscle tone, functional mobility, strength, coordination, balance, and use of sensory input, as well as overall gross motor development. Treatment for gross motor delays can include stretching or strengthening tight or weak muscles, fun exercises and play to improve motor skills, gait training for improved walking, and possibly the use of shoe inserts to help with foot and ankle alignment during play and walking. Your child will also be given a home exercise program to encourage carry-over of newly learned skills in the home environment.