18 answers

Does Anyone Have Experience with Delayed Physical Development?

Hello everyone,
My youngest daughter is 6-1/2 months old and is seemingly having trouble reaching different physical milestones. She is nowhere near able to sit and has very poor upper and lower body control. I was told by her pediatrician and a pediatric neurologist that she may have too much muscle tone which is not allowing her to gain control of her body. She also "scissors" her legs (crosses them at the ankle), has occasional stiff legs and does not stand flat-foot but rather crosses her ankles. She also has little control of her upper body as well - she is spastic with her arms and very shaky when trying to grab at something. The doctors seem to think she should be much more stable for her age.
I was also told that she may just be delayed developmentally with how the brain forms and scariest of all . . . she may have cerebral palsy. But they want to wait to ocnfirm until she is 9 months old with and MRI . . . scary!!!
We have been asked to start physical therapy and basically wait to see what happens between now and 9 months of age.
I never had any of these problems with my older 2 children, and am wondering if anyone out there has any advice or experience with something of the same nature.
Thank you!

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thank you to everyone who responded. This is such a supportive group, and really helps in times of need.
We have gone to physical therapy evaluation, and have our first session later today. They would like my daughter to be seen once or twice a week, and we will hopefully see improvement.

Featured Answers

Why don't you start physical theraphy now by massaging her little body, streching her arms and legs morning,evening and after she has had a warm bath before bed.

More Answers

I have 3 children and I am an acupuncturist. I would highly recommend you call Life Force Chiropractic at ###-###-####. Talk to Dr. Heidi. They are neurological chiros who could probably help you with an earlier, non-invasive diagnosis and they are pediatric specialists. How was your birth? It may have a lot to do with it if there was any intervention or suction or forceps etc....Good Luck!


My son was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy at 8 mo. It does sound like your daughter has many signs. Did you happen to bank her cord blood? I don't know if you've seen the news lately, but CBS 13 did a story on my son the week of Thanksgiving and his story is also on CBR cord blood registry's website under breaking news. We took him back to Duke University and he was one of the first children with CP to have a re-infusion done with his own cord blood we have seen a huge improvement. You might want to watch the video clip. I know it is scary when something is wrong but there is hope and the sooner you start her in therapy the better chance she will have to catch up on her milestones!

Hi J.,

I have helped several children who were considered delayed in their physical development. Very frequently, birth trauma causes increased pressure on the nervous system and can mimic other neurological diseases. I would recommend checking the International Chiropractic Pediatrics ____@____.com to find a qualified Chiropractor in your area. They will have a conservative approach that can have dramatic results, without drugs, surgery or MRI's.

If your daughter doesn't have any improvement then you can feel more at ease about putting her through the MRI when it is time.

Please don't delay seeking Chiropractic care. Your daughter will grow rapidly the first year and it is critical to get her help as soon as you can.

Good luck with her and I know you and your family will do the best for all of you.

Dr. G. M., DC

I have been working with children with special needs for about 10 years now. I am not saying your child has special needs, but it does sound like you have some concerns about her physical development and what you're seeing differently from that of your two other children. I added inforation below of a resource that may be helpful to you if you live in Santa Clara County. And at the bottom, I added a resource for San Mateo County. The Early Start Prevention Program may be able to do an intake interview and proceed with an assessment where your daughter will be seen by a multidisciplinary team. The Early Start is for children from birth to 36 months and if it's possible that your daughter may be able to get help sooner than later. Or they can provide you with more resources.

Early Start
For more information contact your nearest San Andreas Regional Center intake worker at:
Santa Clara County: ###-###-####
South Santa Clara and San Benito County* ###-###-####

For information on Early Start in Santa Clara County call:

or if in San Mateo County call:
San Mateo
3130 La Selva Drive, Suite 202
San Mateo, CA 94403
Telephone: ###-###-####

Hope this helps and goo luck!

Hi J.,
I am sorry to hear your little girl is having problems. I would highly recommend you to take her to your chiropractor if she/he works with babies. Chiropractic care is a little different for children than for adults, so you need somebody that specializes in pediatric chiropractic.
It sounds like she could benefit from some cranial work. It helps the nervous system function and helps the brain to function at a more optimal level. Once the nervous system is addressed it will in turn allow better muscle development and coordination.
The reason I know all this, is that I am a chiropractor myself. My both boys have been adjusted from birth. I've also worked with cerebral palsy kids and autistic children and they all benefited from chiropractic care: better gait, more stable sensory and motor skills. Here is a website that discusses a lot of conditions that can be addressed with chiropractic. It is very safe and the babies/kids love it too!

If you have a chiropractor make sure you talk to him/her about helping your daughter. You can always call me if you want to talk, ask questions, or have me take a look at your daughter's condition. The earlier you start the treatment the more chance you have to get good results.
All the best,

V. Tali DC
chiropractic care at your home

Hi J.,

I am a Mom of 5 beautiful children....all grown up now. My last child is now 21 and has cerebral palsy and began with many of the same things you are writing about. When he was 4 months old, I noticed that he had wandering eyes, lack of head control on his tummy, and, too, wasn't sitting like his siblings had done at the same age. From the fact that he was born in distress 5 weeks early, I was keenly aware that he might have problems from lack of oxygen....therefore cerebral palsy. Doctors kept telling me that he might have motor development delay because he was a preemie, but there was more. I look back in early pictures and he always had his fists closed. He would grasp a toy and lose it, then be unable to retrieve it. When he would cry, he would arch his back....sometimes arching out of his baby seat. I also noticed the same scissoring of his feet/legs as you describe with your child. His legs had lack of tone while his arms would draw up in contracting.

While every child is different and the degrees of cerebral palsy are different with each child, I don't think you are being overly-concerned about your baby. I, too, had to wait for the official diagnosis....when my son was 10 months old. I was told at the time that the basic reflexes a baby has at birth disappear by 10 months and if they have a disability, they will still be present. So we had to wait after going to all his dr. appts. and being told he was delayed. Hang in there. PT is a good idea.....we've had our share and it helps in the long run.

If your baby's diagnosis is cerebral palsy, it isn't the end of your world....just the beginning of a different world. That's one of the hardest thing about the diagnosis of any disability....your dreams of a normal child die and the dreams for your special child begin. You can experience the same grief that people experience when they lose a child....although you haven't lost your baby, but the challenge of loving your new baby has just begun.

It's a real journey....just know that I have gone through 21+ years and survived with a beautiful son who has graduated from HS...in an electric wheelchair and with LOTS of special ed adaptations. He is now studying computer graphics as he still doesn't have good hand control. As his mother, I am still there for him every day dealing with his care.

If the diagnosis is CP(...whatever level),

1.immediately contact California Children's Services (CCS-which can provide therapies-PT,OT,Speech-, and equipment if needed)

2. the Regional Center for your area(a source for monies/services for equipment not provided by CCS or med insurances)

3. around 1 1/2 yo, an Early Intervention Program with the school district.

We were in the Sacramento area for many years, then up in Tahoe. Those services are available all over California. I remember some early advice given to me by a mom of a special needs child....."there are lots of services and money available out there to help you, but you will have to be proactive!" I found that so true. Now there are support groups for moms/dads and siblings. Take advantage of everything you can. Also you can contact In Home Support Services (IHSS) through the County in which you live and apply to receive monetary compensation for caring for your child. Also you can contact Social Security for SSDI (Disability Insurance) which you can receive a monthly income for your child with a disability.

I send my best to you and God bless you. R.

I am sorry for you going through a hard time with you baby. I just wanted to add that my little sister, she is now 15 years old also had a hard time holding herself, specialy standing up and therefore learning to walk when she was a baby, I am talking of when she was around your baby's age maybe even when she was older than yours. She then went to therapies where the therapiest put her into sessions of standing up in periods of time with some inforcement on her legs to make her stand and make her legs exercised to get stronger. It took some months of therapy but she finally walked and I can tell you that she is a healthy girl now. I really think you should wait and think that every baby develops at his/her own pase and that you baby could just be a little behind compared to other babies in terms of movility and strength but that she might finally get there. Also, work with your doctors recomendations and see what happends.

I will pray!

Why don't you start physical theraphy now by massaging her little body, streching her arms and legs morning,evening and after she has had a warm bath before bed.




This are both important in your child's development!!!
If you want more info...just let me know!!! Love, G.. :0)

I know that you are in a scary place right now, but stay positive. One of my daughters is developmentally delayed due to being born 14 weeks early. She may have CP but we won't know for sure until she begins walking. We have decided to be as aggressive as possible with her development which includes a close relationship with her pediatrician, physical therapist, infant educator, speech pathologist, two specialist doctors and Alta California Regional Center. Alta was able to get the physical and speech therapists and the infant educator for us. We are also exploring music therapy for her. While it takes her longer to reach milestone such as sitting and crawling, she is making progress. Pursue every option that you can for your daughter and don't compare her to others. She is going to develop at her own pace.

Also, my 8 year old nephew was diagnosed with CP. He is working with a physical therapist and is a very happy, healthy little boy. He is not the best runner so he probably won't pursue athletics but all other areas of his life are fine.

Stay positive and work closely with your pediatrician. Good luck!!!

Hi J.,

I would love to help you, but I am not a physical therapist. I am a certified Somatic Movement Educator as well as an Infant Developmental Mouvement Educator. I am also the mother of a wonderful 2 1/2 year old boy and stepmother of 2 older children, 11 and 14.
Please feel free to call me at ###-###-#### or at my cell, ###-###-####.


Before having our 2 boys, I spent close to 20 years working w/kids w/disabilites. I'm not exactly sure at what age CP (cerebral palsy) can be diagnosed, but clearly there is something going on w/her physically. Get her started in PT ASAP. Early intervention is key here. Start doing your own research & become your daughter's strongest advocate. Push for what you think she needs....getting her to see a specialist, getting tested & receiving services of any kind. My closest friend has a son w/developmental delays (he's 24 now & is living in an apartment w/a roommate & assisitance from a caregiver) & when he was young, she joined Support for Families of Children with Disabilities. It was a support group for her, her other kids as well as a place for her to get advice. Just google it & see what you can find. I see you live in San Carlos.....my friend lives in SF so I'm sure there will be a chapter close to you. Hope this helps & good luck!

please consider seeing an osteopath - they have the same med school etc training as md's, but also learn "manual medicine" - they can feel your daughter's body and give you another point of view/more feedback. osteohome.com or osteodoc.com i think can give you some more info.

the best osteo in the area for babies is catherine henderson on solano ###-###-####. she is, however, a british trained osteopath, not a u.s. D.O., if that matters for your insurance. there are others in her office if your insurance will only cover a D.O.

good luck!

Have you tried Alta California Regional? They test children for a variety of conditions. They are required by law to test within 3 months of your requesting - especially if your child is under 5 years old. This is due to the "No Child Left Behind" Act and the "First Five" Act. I'd call them right away. They also have great therapists that will come to your home and help your daughter (and via proxy you). Plus, they'll give you great resources and connections to other people that may have similar issues with their children. We used them for our oldest because when we adopted him at 22 months he did not speak - at all. He didn't know how, he never learned. They were great and they even got him into a Communicatively Handicapped class through the school district 5 days a week for 4 hours a day when he was 3! He has made HUGE leaps in communication and speaking in the last 2 years. I would highly recommend Alta to anyone that even thinks there is a development issue with their child. Good luck.


It sure is scary when doctors tell us we just have to wait. You feel helpless and guilty all at the same time. I have four children-13,10,5 and 3. My three year old is a boy and he is developmentally delayed with his speech and motor skills-he also has what is called sensory intergration. All this means is that he is rough, screams alot, his coordination is off a little, he needs to be active jumping playing, his attention span is not very long. Sounds like a normal child Right? I think he just needs more time for his brain to catch up with what his body wants to do. He still does not talk like some people would say a three year old would and he is not potty trained but I can't change that about him so I have to accept it for what it is and pray that soon he will catch up with all the other kids his age. After four children I have finally come to the realization that whomever set those standards only had one child) But really, I'm not saying you should not be concerned you should but don't try and compare her to your other kids. I still catch myself doing that and I have to remind myself that he is who he is and I love him regardless so I will wait, try and be patient and see what comes. I do recommend getting as much information as you can so that you will be informed and know the right decisons to make for her. I had my son evaluated with the early intervention program-they have him in a two day a week program for two hours. He has amazing teachers who work with him on all of his delays from speech and motor to Occupational Therapy and it's free. It was the best thing I did. I feel where you are I still have my bad days with my son and will probably continue too, but I now have a place that understands him even if I don't always do. Support from friends is really helpful too-if your not involved in a mom's group-that can be very beneficial for you and your children if you are interested let me know. I hope for the best with your daughter.

Hi, My son who is now 3 1/2 years old was a preemee. He was a 32 weeker. He had a lot of delays. He didn't sit up until over a year old, and didn't walk until 2 1/2 years. I am lucky I have a great pediatrician who hoked us up with physical therapy, at age 11 months. I also was referred to ALTA. Which is a great program which evaluates your child and gives you any therapies your child needs free of charge. My son has low muscle tone, partial Cerebral Palsy, which means he is weak on his left side. He had floppy legs like a newborn until about 2 1/2 years old. Keep on your DR. My son is now in a great inclusion preschool, he gets sensory training, speech therapy, and anything else he needs. You are your child's only advocate

i have a child with mil cerebral palsy i dindt know till he was after he was a year old because is mild and he was delayd but not that much. it is very hard to find out that something is wrong with your child because if anything that new you mayby will hear at birth but not later on so first of all take your time but fully accept it once you accept it it easier to deal with it. dont blame your self or dad nothing you did or stop doin caused this. accept the terapy if later on is nothing very good but for now accept and later if you find it is cerebral palsy the advantage to that is that usually affect only small part of the brain but they are as intellingent as us. i made many mistakes and many good thing mayby like every other parent but i will tel you so you can learn the first mistake we did is trying to do everything for him he was our thirth child ant the older ones are girls so it was like if he had 3 mamys to take of him then i send him to special education school when i had the chance to send him to regula preschool. or montessory like then when he went to regular school he could no perform fisicaaly with writting like the other children and it was a mistake accepting for him to go to special education if i had the chance again i would just find a teacher who knows i want to know about cerebral palsy and was willing to work with an intellingent tender loving boy and no to live hardly much written home work but more oral because there were many year of spending 4 or 5 hours a day trying to to do home work so he could be as the others. i will look for regular class school principal and teacher whom are willing to work with his habilities.
the good thing i did i gave him lots of love and i make him to have self steem and he was happy and liked school i told them does not matter the ffffffs or any letter the teacher chosses for you the important thing is that you learn you respect the teacher and others and be happy you arte great dont ever forget that and dont let anybody measure your succes. but you and you are altredy a winer because you have are here and we fell very luky that you were born in our family. etc etc. but i dont want to overwelme you. keep asking for help.

My daughter is 11 months old.. She has not been able to sit by herself.. She sits great with support tho.. She is very strong in her arms and her legs.. She does stand flat footed.. and is constantly moving across the floor.. My daughter didnt roll from back to stomach till she was almost 9 months old.. so I personally think that she is delayed by 3 to 4 months... But her ped is wanting to rule out Prader Willie Syndrome.. Which u might want to see if they wanna check that out.. My daughter is able to stand with holding on to something. but shes not able to pull herself up yet.. We are working on that.

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