WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION DEVELOPMENT STUDY RESULTS: GROSS MOTOR MILESTONES IN THE FIRST YEAR

The line between typical and atypical development can be a hazy one. There are standards that pediatricians, physical therapists, and developmental experts use to monitor growth and deviations from the norm, which allow us to recommend interventions when appropriate.  In 2006, the World Health Organization (WHO) released a whole new set of standards for evaluating and assessing the development of children from birth to 5 years.

 

Gross Motor Skills

What makes this new standard a great tool to monitor the change and growth of infants? This standard is based on data collected from healthy children, over multiple years, in six diverse geographic regions including Southeast and Southwest Asia, Europe, West Africa, North and South America. What is exciting about the new evaluation tool is that now, pediatric specialists have more than just reference curves for physical growth, but curves for motor development as well.

THE SIX GROSS MOTOR MILESTONES WHO EXAMINED IN BABIES WERE THE FOLLOWING:

1.    Sitting without support
2.    Standing with assistance
3.    Hands-and-knees crawling
4.    Walking with assistance
5.    Standing alone
6.    Walking alone

The “windows of milestone achievement” were organized into percentile rankings which pediatricians and physical therapists can use, much like a growth chart.

Without Delving Too Deep Into Statistics And Calculations, The Typical Age Range (In Months) For Each Milestone Is Listed Below:

1.    Sitting without support: 3.8 – 9.2 months
2.    Standing with assistance: 4.8 – 11.4 months
3.    Hands-and-knees crawling: 5.2 – 13.5 months
4.    Walking with assistance: 5.9 – 13.7 months
5.    Standing alone: 6.9 – 16.9 months
6.    Walking alone: 8.2 – 17.6 months

The Average (Mean) Age For Healthy Children Achieving Each Milestones Is As Follows:

1.    Sitting without support: 6 months (with 1.1 month standard deviation, SD)
2.    Standing with assistance: 7.6 months (with 1.4 month SD)
3.    Hands-and-knees crawling: 8.5 months (with 1.7 month SD)
4.    Walking with assistance: 9.2 months (with 1.5 month SD)
5.    Standing alone: 11 months (with 1.9 month SD)
6.    Walking alone: 12.1 months (with 1.8 month standard deviation)

(Click here to view this information in chart form from WHO.)

What is most interesting is that about 90% of the children studied met their milestones in a common sequence, and only 4% of the children skipped hands-and-knees crawling.  (Read here about the importance of crawling.)

As you read over these standards and timelines, remember that every baby develops differently from another. If you see your baby fall behind on any of the 6 gross motor milestones above, mention it to his pediatrician, and she will most likely recommend a physical therapist to help him along.

Reference:
WHO Multicentre Growth Reference Study Group.  WHO Motor Development Study: Windows of achievement for six gross motor development milestones. Acta Paediatrica, 2006; Suppl 450: 86-95.

About PT4Peanuts

Judy is the proud owner of Lil' Peanuts Physical Therapy, P.C. She is a board certified pediatric specialist who has worked with children all across the country, from NICUs to outpatient day rehabilitation centers. She is an avid blogger and full proponent of APTA’s 2020 vision for physical therapy. Her passions lie in educating children, parents, teachers, clinicians, and future therapists so that they can best reach their full potential.
This entry was posted in Family, Parenting, Physical Therapy and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION DEVELOPMENT STUDY RESULTS: GROSS MOTOR MILESTONES IN THE FIRST YEAR

  1. Stefan Dennenmoser says:

    Dear PT4Peanuts-Team,
    I’m writing a chapter in the second edition of Fascia in Sport and Movement https://amazon.de/Fascia-Sport-Movement-2015-02-18/dp/B015YM4EHS/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1551297243&sr=8-3&keywords=fascia+in+sport+and+movement
    and would like to use your photo of the motor development phases of a baby (gross motor skills).
    Would it be possible to get the rights for printing and a photo with a higher resolution?
    Thanks and best regards!
    Stefan Dennenmoser

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s