What is Developmental Therapy?

What is Developmental Therapy?

October 27, 2023

What is Developmental Therapy?

PT 360° Sports Medicine & Spine Therapy

What is Developmental Therapy?

Pediatric Developmental Therapy is unique to the world of early intervention and specifically looks at how a child is developing across all areas of development–cognitive, language and communication, social-emotional, motor skills and self-help. Developmental therapists are known as the jack of all trades in Pediatric Therapy, focusing on the important milestones your child needs to achieve as they grow, and know when to recommend other services like physical therapy, occupational therapy, or speech therapy.

Developmental therapy at our clinic focuses on your child as a whole. Therapists look at a child globally (i.e. cognition, social-emotional development, speech and language development, fine motor, gross motor, and self-help skills). Developmental therapy typically begins during your child’s most significant time of development, between ages birth to three. During this time, your child is creating the foundation for their developmental track. A developmental therapist will focus their sessions on your family’s needs and your child’s needs.

What does a developmental therapist do?

Developmental therapists (DT) assess a child globally to determine their areas of strength and need. A DT also looks at your child’s home and/or school environments and their daily routine to see how their surroundings contribute to their development. DTs then service your child as needed using a combination of play and parent education. Children use their cognitive processing, memory, and attention span to regulate themselves and to help them understand their environment. DTs provide your child and your family with the tools to help them develop in their natural environment. A DT’s ultimate goal is to empower your family in understanding and navigating their child’s learning process.

What are the benefits to developmental therapy?

Developmental therapists look at how a child is developing in every area of development. Sessions may focus on joint attention, engagement, play skills (functional and symbolic), attention span, following directions, frustration tolerance, cognition, social skills, preschool readiness, etc. DTs can also provide support for your family’s daily routine goals (i.e. sleeping, meal time, going to the park). Your child’s developmental therapy may include a combination of these areas based on your family’s needs.

Signs That Your Child Needs Developmental Therapy

  • Little or no attempts at communication
  • Lack of appropriate play skills
  • Little or no interest in social interaction
  • Forgetting skills or vocabulary that was previously used
  • Not meeting developmental milestones at the expected age

Infant Developmental Milestones

  • Rolling over
  • Crawling
  • Sitting independently
  • Standing with support
  • Babbling
  • Responding to loud noises
  • Attempting to imitate sounds
  • Reaching for and grasping objects
  • Bringing hands together at midline to clap or manipulate toys
  • Playing peek-a-boo
  • Responding to others through eye contact
  • Smiling and laughing
  • Beginning to use single words
  • Responding to name
  • Putting objects in open container
  • Beginning to self-feed finger foods
  • Drinking from a cup
  • Activating toys
  • Demonstrating sensory exploration of objects

Toddler Developmental Milestones

  • Walking independently
  • Using speech and gestures to communicate wants and needs
  • Initiating play
  • Stacking blocks
  • Putting objects in a fitted container
  • Bringing a spoon to mouth
  • Matching objects
  • Holding a marker/crayon adaptively to mark paper
  • Following directions
  • Engaging in imaginary play
  • Engaging in back-and-forth social play
  • Beginning to show interest in dressing self
  • Helping in hand washing
  • Expressing affection
  • Beginning to be more independent

Early Intervention & First Steps in our area

Our therapists in our area will work with your child and family in a team-based approach to provide support, strategies, and interventions to help your child make progress towards developmental milestones. Here’s what you can expect:

  • Short- and long-term goals and outcomes will be reviewed and updated with the family as needed to best support your child.
  • Activities will be planned through everyday play-based routines and family activities. Sessions can occur not only in the home but also at a store, park, library, or daycare depending on the needs and or goals of your child and family.
  • Expect the developmental therapist to be observant, hands on, creative and encouraging.
  • Issues and concerns should be shared and discussed as it pertains to your child’s development so the therapist can provide resources and training that will help you to be your child’s most important advocate and teacher.
  • Once your child starts school, the role of the developmental therapist is replaced by your child’s teachers through the education system to ensure progression of developmental skills.

If you have any questions or concerns about your child’s development, please feel free to contact us at PT 360° Sports Medicine & Spine Therapy.

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