Developmental Therapy

What is Developmental Therapy?

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, Speech Therapy, and/or ABA Therapy.

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

Our therapists 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. 
Young child playing with putty

Developmental Therapy FAQs

What training do you need to be a developmental therapist?  

Developmental therapists are professionals that hold a bachelor’s degree or higher in early childhood education, special education, elementary education, developmental psychology or related fields. All therapists are credentialed and or licensed in the state they serve. They must renew their credentials annually and obtain ongoing training credits in the field of early intervention to continue to provide services.