Early Childhood Intervention
This website is a place for families who are facing
challenges pertaining to their child's development and
It is a place to find answers and practical
suggestions. That's what Early Intervention Support is all
Whether a family has a child with a challenging behavior,
a disability or developmental issue, childhood is short - it
should be savored and enjoyed.
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We understand developmental milestones and the challenges
of Special Needs children. We spend a great deal of time
with families understanding the inner workings of childhood
routines and interactions. Ask us about your child today!
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Gross Motor Skills:
Learning to Walk -
What's Typical, What's Not
All parents await their baby's first steps. This magical moment
is usually reported to occur somewhere around a child's first
birthday, and when it doesn't, many parents worry that something may
be wrong with their child. While it is true that 12 months may be
the average age for walking, babies who don't walk by age 12 months
are not necessarily showing any sort of gross motor or developmental
As therapists we typically tell parents that children may walk
independently anytime between 9 months and 16 months and still be considered
"typically developing". Often a physical therapist will want to take a look
at a child if they are 15-16 months old and not yet walking independently to
determine if there is a reason the child has not taken independent steps and
may perhaps benefit from therapy to help him along.
Walking is not simply a matter of just balance, muscle strength and
coordination. Muscle tone as well as a child's temperament may also play a
role. Children who are active and impulsive may walk early and children who
are laid back and easy going may walk late, but that is not always the case.
Children who were early walkers may be more accident prone and later walkers
may be more cautious, but again this isn't true across the board. All
children are different. Children with high or low muscle tone may have more
difficulty with walking and gross motor skills in general.
Once children do begin to walk many parents become concerned about kids
whose feet turn outward or inward. Typically this is not a concern and a
child's gait will straighten itself out by around age 3. If your child
continues to trip and fall due to feet turning inward/outward then you may
wish to consult a physical therapist.
Young children do not develop much of an arch and are relatively flat
footed until about the age of 3, which is another reason for kids turning
toes inward to help them distribute their weight and balance themselves
Some children walk on their tip toes (especially kids who spent a lot of
time in exersaucers, walkers and jumpers), but again, this is typically not
a concern unless a child's physician or therapist detects tight heel cords
and the child cannot physically put their feet down flat or it causes pain.
When young children begin to walk they need what is called a "wide base
of support" to help them balance, thus they will walk with arms out and legs
apart and feet may be turned inward or outward.
Some ways to help encourage your baby to walk are:
- Let him push toys while standing. Load push toys and carts with
phone books or a bag of sugar to keep them from tipping over.
- Wear overalls on your child and gently hold the back as she walks
- Let her walk behind a large exercise ball while you steady it and
roll it slowly across the floor
- Hold a broomstick crosswise and let your baby hold on as you knee
walk with him
- Limit time in walkers, exersaucers and jumpers to 10-15 minutes a
few times a day, as these devices have not been shown to help children
walk any sooner and sometimes can develop calf muscles more than quad
muscles and contribute to toe walking
- Do not put shoes on babies, so they can feel the input from the
floor beneath their feet
- Kneel a foot away from your child with a favorite toy and entice
her to step towards you
- Place low furniture close together, such as the coffee table a few
feet from the couch to encourage your child to "let go" and take steps
between furniture instead of just cruising beside it
If your child is limping or using one side of his or her body differently
during walking, is 15-16 months and has not attempted to begin walking or
you simply have specific concerns related to your child's ability to walk or
muscle tone then do consult your pediatrician and an early intervention
physical therapist right away for help.
Gross Motor Skills by Age Group
Gross motor development involves the larger, stronger muscle groups. In
early child development, it's the development of these muscles that enable
it to hold its head up, sit, crawl and eventually walk, run, jump and skip.
Find Early Intervention
Support contacts in your State. If you have a question or comment for
us, please visit our Contact page.
Early Intervention Helps with Developmental Delay
For children with Special Needs, intervention in early childhood
development means finding specific ways to help a child become as functional
Learn more on our Parenting
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