301-577-4333 (Lanham, MD) | 202-561-1110 (Washington, DC)

How to Tell If Your Child Needs a Physical Therapist

child in need of physical therapist

If your child still has difficulty with stairs by the age of 4, they may need to see a physical therapist.

Watching a child grow and learn is a rewarding experience. When a child doesn’t develop at the same pace as their siblings or peers, it’s a cause of concern for parents. When a child displays abnormal development or experiences an injury, physical therapy can provide them with the tools and guidance they need to continue on a healthy path of development. Recognizing when to seek a physical therapist can help parents find the right program for their child. The following are a few common behaviors that physical therapy can address.

W Sitting

“W sitting” is when a child sits on the floor with their legs on either side of them, rather than underneath or both to one side of their body. Their legs will create a “W” shape. You may also notice them leaning onto one arm when sitting in a criss-cross position. If you notice your child doing this every time they sit on the floor, it may be an indication of weak core muscles, which inhibit a child’s development of fine motor skills.

Both Feet on Stairs

By the age of 4, a child should be able to go up and down stairs without using the handrail and by putting one foot on each stair, as opposed to putting both feet on each step. If your child is older than 4 and is still presenting difficulty with this task, it could indicate impaired balance, muscle weakness, or a developmental coordination disorder.

Toe Walking

If your child walks on their toes, it may indicate many different impairments, including muscle tightness, core weakness, or impaired balance. Prolonged toe walking can actually cause these impairments as well. Your child’s physical therapist can work with your child to help them break this harmful habit.

Poor Posture

Slouching is usually a sign of boredom, but if your child has trouble sitting up straight, it could be a sign of weak trunk muscles. If left unchecked, this can lead to a poor foundation for fine motor skills. Your child’s physical therapist will do core strengthening exercises with your child to help them strengthen their trunk muscles.

Still wondering if physical therapy is right for your child? Take our questionnaire!

The Connections Therapy Center

The Connections Therapy Center serves families of children and adolescents with disabilities and special needs. We are a team of experts in the fields of pediatric speech, occupational therapy, speech-language pathology, and behavioral sciences. As a team, we offer intensive hands-on therapy for children and adolescents, as well as informative and useful resources for families. If you are interested in learning more about what we can do to help your family, visit us online or give us a call at (202) 561-1110 (Washington, D.C. office) or (301) 577-4333 (Lanham office). Want to get more information on how to help your child thrive? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and Pinterest.

This entry was posted on Friday, May 5th, 2017 at 11:58 am . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Connections Therapy Center

MD Location

  • 4451 Parliament Place, Suite A
    Lanham, MD 20706
  • 301-577-4333
  • 301-577-5180

DC Location

  • 3849 Alabama Avenue, S.E.
    Washington, DC 20020
  • 202-561-1110
  • 301-577-5180

Contact Us Today




Connections Therapy Center
4451 Parliament Place, Suite A Lanham, Maryland 20706
Phone: 301-577-4333