Gross Motor Delay in an 8 Month Old

Updated on October 30, 2010
M.F. asks from Staten Island, NY
18 answers

My daughter is almost 8 1/2 months and is showing gross motor delays. Except for a few times around 3 months old, she never rolled over. She is also not close to crawling yet. She will pivot around on her stomach and try to reach toys but can't really move. She gets frustrated and just kicks her legs. She has been a good sitter since 5 months old and mostly likes to sit and reach for things, but again doesn't really move (at least not intentionally). Again, she kicks her legs in frustration.

We had her evaluated yesterday by EI. She was at or close to age level in everything else, but measuring at 6 months for gross motor skills. They said she did not qualify for services but suggested we challenge her to roll and crawl more and gave us a few exercises to do.

Does anyone else have experience with this? Did your kids catch up in the end? ... I am concerned about what could be causing it. I am hoping it is just because she had reflux as a newborn and has always disliked tummy time, so we never really gave her enough of it. When she started suddenly sitting well at 5 months we really de-emphasized the tummy time.

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So What Happened?

Thank you all for your comments. What strikes me is how divided the comments seem to be between "no need to worry" and "get help." That just speaks to what ambiguous territory we are in daughter may be perfectly fine and just slow in this one area or just need a little push...or it may be indicative of a larger problem. I am so torn. I am REALLY worried and fearful, but part of me also thinks she is fine as others keep telling me. Only time will tell. I am crossing my fingers. In the meantime, we will give her lots of tummy time. I've also called her pediatrician to ask for recommendations to occupational or physical therapists (it's not clear to me which we need). Finally, I have a nueurology appointment lined up for early December in case she seems to be getting worse, but hopefully we won't need it.

Featured Answers



answers from New York on

Hi- EI evaluators are usually pretty in tune to delays and disorders and what qualifies them as such. Both my little ones really didn't roll over consistently till past 8 months and crawl, etc, a little later than expected. The reason given for them was thier weight/size (harder to propel a larger body than a small one). I never say 'don't worry', but follow some of the aforementioned recs and it will probably all be fine. It is more common than you might think. (I was really worried, too!) Good luck.



answers from New York on

Roll a ball away from her and if it's a cool enough ball like Big Tangiball, the sparkly strawberry-scented, strawberry color nubby ball, she's apt to try and crawl after it. You can find it at
Good luck!

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answers from San Francisco on

Unfortunately with Early Intervention, the child has to be significantly behind 50% in one area and 25% in two areas. The skills they have to prove at this young age make it hard to qualify (as you just experienced).

Besides working with her at home, can you sign up for a mommy and me class? In California, we have the Little Gym which encourages movement and singing. There are also classes offered though our cities.

If, at 18 months or two years, she is still not where she should be, fill out the paperwork and get her evaluated again through EI.

My middle son showed signs of delay both with his motor skills and speech. But the doctor kept on saying he was fine. Finally my mother, convinced me to get him evaluated at 2 1/2 years old. He qualified for two hours of speech and two hours of OT a week!

He is now 7 and above grade level in 2nd grade. His printing is messy (still working on the fine motor control) and he still qualifies for speech therapy but he is well on his way to not needing these services. So yes, kids can catch up in the end, some roads are just very long.....

Good luck....don't back down and follow your gut.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Utica on

Hi M.
Never give up. I took one of our twins to the MD at 10m. She was not even holding her head up. She would sit up, if I sat her but she didn't pick her head up when we laid her on her tummy. He said after looking her all over. She is fine, work with her some. That was about 20 years ago. So I can tell you at least for our daughter this is a fact. She is a junior in college. She is a journalism major with Dean's List/President's List grades.
We found that she learns something like walking up stairs rather than a ramp. She stays on one step til ready to take the next, but certainly she has achieved far more than I would have expected that day in the MD's office.
Hold onto what is good, and don't worry about causes. Perhaps she is just staying a one step a little longer than you would like. All our daughter's learning was like that.
Can I pray for yours?
and will you agree with me in prayer that she be a wonderful adult.
God bless you



answers from Columbus on

If you are worried, and you have insurance, you can have a private evaluation done, and she may qualify for private intervention. Even if your daughter were to qualify for a State service, it would not be enough for her to maximize her potential, these services are not there to be everything every child with a delay will need. Prior to age 3, many inusrance plans cover all developmental delays, you just have to check your plan, and in almost every case, the evaluation is a covered benefit. You have nothing ot lose by checking into it, and you may get some peace of mind.

Your pediatrican can help you too, as for a referal if you need it.

Knowing what could be causing it is not of as much value as you think. The treatment and therapy will be identical, no matter what the cause fo the delay, with very few exceptions, so if she can benefit from therapy and from you being educated by a therapist on in home exercises, then get it. If you need to know a cause, it will find you because the issues will not go away. Never knowing why would actally mean that she closed the gap and had moved into the typical range for gross motor development, and yes, many kids do that with no sign that they every had a delay. Just be vigalant. Don't ever pass up the opportunity to make sure that your child fits that category by getting her more therapy rather than less for developmental issues when ever possible.




answers from Boston on

Relax. Breathe. You could have just described my daughter. My daughter NEVER rolled over (seriously, she could walk first). She also never crawled (she started scooting around on her bum at about 10 months). She was a late walker too - not until about 16 months. She always hated tummy time, and we didn't push it because it made her miserable. But she was an early talker, and her fine motor was great.

She's now a totally happy, average 5 year old who can walk, skip, run, jump, etc. She's never going to be a professional athlete; her coordination isn't so great. So what? Averages are just that - averages - some kids have to be early and some kids will be late. If your daughter really can't get around at all at about 10mths-1 year, get her reevaluated. For now, try to enjoy not having to babyproof.



answers from Charlotte on



answers from Chicago on

I am in agreeance with what you have read:
1. 5 min of tummy time every hour or so I would say
2. get a second opinion thru your pedi to an OT
3. keep some things out of reach such as her fav toy/snack and show her what you expect of her and have her try once or twice before you give it to her.
4. lots of praise
5. a mommy and me yoga or gym type class
6. do what EI showed you to do
7. as often as possible show her the skills you would like her to do such as crawl, roll over, reach whatever it is you are concerned about.
8. SMILE your doing it right!



answers from New York on

I think she will catch up just fine. My son did not start crawling until he
was 10 months. Very laid back little guy. Once he started crawling,
he was off. Walked by 13 months. Babies years ago were always on
their tummies, so they crawled much earlier. Even as new borns they
would scoot around crib. Just keep encouraging her and certainly if
you do not see improvement, contact your pediatrician and get her


answers from Los Angeles on

you've had her evaluated.. tummy time does make a huge difference, my youngest isnt much for rolling onto her back, she does it back to belly and them gets mad. when the babies were put to sleep on their bellies they learned rolling, creeping and crawling faster. My oldest daughter was slow to reach her milestones, but was "caught up" by age 5, and probably sooner. (shes almost 21 and you do forget these little things!!!) in the end they all seem to aquire the skill, just not at the same pace. its a broad window of expectation anyways, and perhaps she is more advanced in other areas. she will figure it all out in her own time, dont worry!



answers from New York on

The average range is pretty big on some skills. My son was born big and on the early side for all his motor skills. He took his first steps at 10 months. My daughter was much slower on the motor skills sitting around 6-7 months and crawling at 10 months. It took her ages to walk. From 15 months she looked like she would be walking any day and she kept learning new things (walking with a push toy or holding my hand) but still not walking independently. I asked several people and was told she is not far enough behind to get any services until she is 17.5 months and still not walking. We went on vacation when she was 17 months and she finally got it while visiting the grandparents (who had a big open floor and a push toy for her). Based on my experience I'd say watch that she is making some progress, even if it is slow. You already had one evaluation so see if the exercises help. Also it is common for girls to be slower on motor skills and faster learning to talk and boys the reverse. My kids did fit that pattern and my daughter has better fine motor skills than her brother at the same age. Kids sometimes develop unevenly and catch up on their own (but just keep an eye and make sure it is happening).



answers from New York on

My daughter was 4 weeks early and had the same motor skill delays that you are seeing in your daughter. We signed up for an early intervention evaluation and got support and help that way. You dont need a doctors recommendation in most communities. So call to see how they operate. My daughter needed help learning everything from how to roll over and sit up to walking & climing stairs. By 2.5 or so , she was all caught up. she is in kindergartten now & you would never know that her motor skills were ever delayed. I had to learn not to pamper her & carry her all the time, but to help her use her muscles and build her strength. We would make games out of the exercises.

good luck,
proud mom of a very mobile 5 year old



answers from Lexington on

I know a baby that didnt start crawling till about 10-11 months. She also didnt like tummy time. I would do tummy time as much as possible, even if its just for a few minutes at a time.


answers from Sheboygan on

My son was very sick with jaundice and acid reflux when he was a newborn, this lasted for about 3 months. My doctor said this put him a little behind schedule. He didn't sit up on his own til 6 1/2 months. He didn't show ANY signs of crawling until 10 months. He's 18 months old now and just learning to walk. He's a little behind, but nothing to worry about I'd say! My son did the exact same thing - just kicked his legs in frustration when he couldn't move. No matter how many little 'tricks' I tried... and how much I pushed him to crawl... he worked on his own time and eventually got the hang of it. Some kids just learn differently :)



answers from Las Vegas on

Do you have insurance. If so, I would ask your pediatrician to have your daughter evaluated by an occupational therapist. The occupational therapist should be able to give you some information about what's going on with your daughter, what kind of activities you can do with her at home to help with her gross motor development, and provide ongoing therapy if needed. If the OT tells you that your daughter is a candidate for ongoing therapy then you can probably use that information to appeal the EI decision. (The squeaky wheel gets the grease so don't be afraid to make a lot of noise.)

My son had gross motor delays and sensory processing issues. We received OT through the school district and through a private provider and it really helped him a lot. He's 7 now and he's doing really well. You can tell that he is probably going to be the floppy (low-toned) kid but it no longer seems to be interfering with his life. The major concern that we have right now is his ability to sit upright and still at his desk for long periods of time. It's just not comfortable for him. But I did speak with general ed PE coaches about his performance the other day and they said that he is really doing great in PE. It's all a work in progress....

Hope this helps.



answers from New York on

Dear M.,

I think it'd be fine and reasonable to follow up with your pediatrician if you wish, but as I read your post, the fact that your daughter started sitting up right on schedule made me a lot less concerned. In this era of "back to sleep," crawling is a really unreliable indicator -- plenty of children skip this stage altogether. I would try to more tummy time: it gives them another perspective on the world (literally), which is good for neurological development, but I'd also try having her "stand" on your lap, with you supporting her torso. Don't expect her to balance on her own at this age, but try to get her to bear some weight on her legs. There's this expression, "you have to crawl before you can walk," but when it comes to actual babies, it's really not true.

For what it's worth, my own son has always been on the lagging end of gross motor development. He did meet his milestones, but without a lot of room to spare. Today, at 4, he shows every sign of being a super-smart, unathletic little nerd. It's just who he is. I guess what I'm trying to say is, it's possible your daughter has a genuine motor delay, but it's also possible she falls within the broad, diverse category of "normal" -- better at some things than others, like the rest of us.

Good luck!




answers from New York on

Ask your doctor about ways to encourage your daughter's gross motor skills. Yes, she should be rolling over more but not crawling at 8 1/2 months is totally normal. Since she scored normally in all other areas I would just watch things but I really would not be concerned. Since she does sit by herself, its not like she is behind in every gross motor area. She is still very, very, young. My loved loved "sit and reach" until he was 9 months old and started crawling. You might be surprised, one day she will just take off. In the meantime, try to position her body and help show her how to crawl. Lots of babies need the parents to move them the right way and then they get the idea.


Ask your doctor about ways to encourage your daughter's gross motor skills. Yes, she should be rolling over more but not crawling at 8 1/2 months is totally normal. Since she scored normally in all other areas I would just watch things but I really would not be concerned. Since she does sit by herself, its not like she is behind in every gross motor area. She is still very, very, young. My loved loved "sit and reach" until he was 9 months old and started crawling. You might be surprised, one day she will just take off. In the meantime, try to position her body and help show her how to crawl. Lots of babies need the parents to move them the right way and then they get the idea.



answers from New York on

Kids develop at different speeds so don't worry. Just spend 5 minutes several times a day on the exercises they gave you. Have set times (so you remember and so you don't feel overwhelmed like you should spend 10 hours a day and thus spend no time at all doing them). For example, after every diaper change and after every snack/meal in the high chair, clean her up and set your timer for 5 minutes. That should give you 10 times a day - plenty of time for your to get in to your daily rhythm and short amounts so nobody is overwhelmed. You can do it. Turn off the tv, turn on the music, and play!

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