Girl running.

Characteristics of Developmental Delay

What is developmental delay?

Developmental delay is the condition of a child whose development in moving, talking, or playing is different than other children their same age. Developmental delay may or may not be attributed to a separate diagnosis.

The delay can be in any area(s) of development, such as:

  • Movement (motor)
  • Language/communication
  • Cognition
  • Self-care skills

What are the signs and symptoms of developmental delay?

When a child’s motor skills are delayed, they might not skip, jump, or run with other children because they have not developed the age-appropriate skills, and are unable to keep up with their peers.

During infancy, a child may rst be suspected to have developmental delay if common milestones are delayed, such as:

  • Holding their head upright and look around by 4-6 months old
  • Sitting without support by 6-9 months old
  • Crawling by 9-12 months old
  • Walking by 12-18 months old

How can a physical therapist help?

A physical therapist will first evaluate your child and the environment in which they move, and conduct an appropriate test to determine the child’s specific strengths and weaknesses.

Your physical therapist can give detailed guidance on building motor skills one step at a time to reach established goals. Your physical therapist will also teach the family ways in which you can help your child practice skills during everyday activities.