Developmental milestones are key skills or abilities that most children achieve by a certain age range. They encompass various aspects of physical, cognitive, social, and emotional development. These milestones serve as guidelines for tracking a child’s growth and identifying any potential developmental delays or concerns.

Physical Development:

Gross Motor Skills: These involve large muscle movements and control.

1. Rolling over (4-6 months)

2. Sitting without support (6-8 months)

3. Crawling (8-10 months)

4. Walking (9-15 months)

Fine Motor Skills: These involve small muscle movements, particularly in the hands and fingers.

1. Grasping objects (3-6 months)

2. Pincer grasp (9-12 months)

3. Scribbling (12-18 months)

4. Building towers with blocks (18-24 months)

Cognitive Development:

Sensory Processing: Understanding and responding to information received through the senses.

1. Recognising familiar faces (2-3 months)

2. Exploring objects with hands and mouth (6-9 months)

3. Responding to simple instructions (12-18 months)

4. Problem-Solving and Learning: Ability to understand and interact with the environment.

5. Object permanence (6-9 months)

6. Imitating actions and sounds (9-12 months)

7. Sorting shapes and colors (18-24 months)

Attachment and Bonding: Forming emotional connections with caregivers.

1. Smiling at familiar faces (2-3 months)

2. Separation anxiety (8-12 months)

3. Playing near other children (12-18 months)


Social Interaction and Communication: Developing communication skills and understanding social cues.

1. Babbling and gesturing (6-9 months)

2. First words (9-12 months)

3. Pointing to objects of interest (12-18 months)

It’s important to remember that these milestones are general guidelines, and every child develops at their own pace.

Variations in cultural practices, genetics, and individual differences can influence when these milestones are achieved.

If there are concerns about a child’s development, it’s best to consult with healthcare professionals or developmental specialists for further assessment and support.

How can physiotherapy help with developmental milestones?

Physiotherapy can play a crucial role in supporting children who may have delays or difficulties in achieving developmental milestones. Here’s how physiotherapy can help:

1. Improving Gross Motor Skills: Physiotherapists work on enhancing a child’s ability to control and coordinate large muscle movements, such as crawling, walking, and jumping. They may use exercises, stretches, and activities tailored to the child’s needs to strengthen muscles and improve motor control.

2. Enhancing Balance and Coordination: Physiotherapy can help children develop better balance and coordination, which are essential for activities like standing, walking, and playing. Therapists may use balance training exercises, games, and equipment to improve these skills.

3. Addressing Musculoskeletal Issues: Children with developmental delays may experience issues with their musculoskeletal system, such as muscle weakness, joint stiffness, or poor alignment. Physiotherapists can assess these issues and provide interventions such as stretching, strengthening exercises, and manual therapy to improve mobility and function.

4. Promoting Independence: Physiotherapy aims to empower children to become more independent in their daily activities. Therapists may teach techniques for tasks like dressing, feeding, and toileting that promote motor skills development and self-care abilities.

5. Supporting Early Intervention: Early intervention is crucial for addressing developmental delays and preventing further complications. Physiotherapists can work with infants and young children to identify delays early on and implement targeted interventions to promote optimal development.

6. Collaborating with Families and Caregivers: Physiotherapists collaborate closely with families and caregivers to develop personalised treatment plans and provide guidance on how to support the child’s development at home. They may offer education on positioning, handling techniques, and activities that promote motor development.

6. Monitoring Progress and Adjusting Interventions: Physiotherapists regularly monitor the child’s progress and adjust interventions as needed based on their evolving needs and abilities. They may also provide guidance on transitioning to new developmental stages and adapting activities accordingly.

Overall, physiotherapy can be a valuable component of a multidisciplinary approach to supporting children with developmental delays, helping them reach their full potential and participate in activities of daily living.

Prepared By

Aaron Shawn & Cheah Yong Ying

Your Physio Ampang

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