Nurturing Your Child’s Physical and Mental Well Being

In today’s fast-paced world it is easy for a child to be “labeled” with a diagnosis, that can often stem from simple lack of normal physical or mental challenges. Of course, there are many factors that can affect a child’s physical and mental well-being, but there is also a lot that can be done to help the child improve in these areas, no matter what the current situation. Both these areas go hand-in-hand as a child who is not physically moving is not as happy and a child who is not stimulated mentally will likely not be as physical.

A normal activity that a child should attain at a predicted age is called a “milestone”. Milestones are a gauge of normal physical and mental development of the child and are what Physical, Occupational and Speech Therapists model their treatment plans towards when working with children.

When a child is not reaching their milestone physically and mentally, they can feel left out when it comes time to playing with their family, friends and classmates. Unfortunately, sometimes, children are labeled as clumsy, un-coordinated or just not good at sports or play.

Children need to be active and are constantly developing physical skills such as jumping, climbing, running, balance and a whole lot more. These develop over time and are a reason why a 4 year old runs very different than a teenage athlete. However, these normal physical milestones can sometimes run a little slow due to a variety of reasons and child has difficulty catching up to his peers. This is where the experts at Pediatric Therapies come in to help children, no matter what their age, reach towards their appropriate physical and mental milestones.

Did you know that sometimes, just being more sedentary, such as watching excessive TV, can limit the normal growth towards these milestones? Other times, there can be a more medical or neurological reason. Either way, the experts at Pediatric Therapies are experts at locating where your child is on their milestones and working as a team with your doctor and including the family to help move your child forward.

In addition to having physical well-being a child needs the right mental stimulation to achieve their mental or “cognitive” milestones. A speech therapist and occupational therapist can work together to help your child overcome learning disabilities or adapt to changes they may need because of a neurological condition. Speech and mental abilities are skills that are learned with time which is why how a 2 year old talks and solves problems is very different from a 10 year old. If a child has difficulty with reading, speaking clearly, or has difficulty grasping concepts, they can often feel left out, especially in school. Our therapists can identify areas where they are having challenges and work closely with the child to overcome or adapt to these obstacles.

At Pediatric Therapies, it is our goal to help your child to achieve their goals, they would have difficulty overcoming on their own. Care, compassion and knowledge can help your child succeed in achieving milestones and having a greater physical and mental well-being. If you have questions about your child’s progress towards their milestones, give us a call today and we will be happy to discuss your questions. Don’t be afraid to ask, because knowledge is power. Often parents are afraid their child may be “labeled” with a diagnosis. However, if you know what is going on, we can work with you and your doctor to help empower you and your child towards a brighter future.

Below are some milestones a child will attain at a given age. This is not a complete list and please see your physical, occupational or speech therapist for more details:


Birth to 1 year

  • Able to drink from cup
  • Walks while holding onto furniture
  • May walk without support
  • Babbles, says mama and dada appropriately
  • Displays social smile

Toddler 1-3 years

  • Able to feed self neatly with minimal spilling
  • Able to draw a line
  • Able to run, pivot and walk backwards
  • Able to walk up and down stairs
  • Imitates speech of others and echoes words back
  • Masters walking
  • Uses more words and understands simple commands

Preschooler – 3-6 years

  • Able to draw a circle and square
  • Able to draw stick figures with two to three features for people
  • Balances better, may begin to ride bicycle
  • Begins to recognize written words
  • Catches a bounced ball
  • Hops on one foot

School-age child 6-12 years

  • Gains sills for team sports such as soccer, t-ball, etc.
  • Peer recognition begins to become important
  • Reading skills further develop
  • Understands and is able to follow several directions in a row
  • Runs fast, zig zag, coordinated play

Adolescent – 12-18 years

  • Adult height, weight, maturity
  • Peer acceptance and recognition is vital
  • Understands abstract concepts
  • Oral presentations in school
  • Development of autonomy and independence
*University of Maryland Medical Center, Jennifer K Mannheim 1/17/2011