Increase in infant early motor delays, reports survey

August 1, 2008

A survey of more than 400 pediatric physical, occupational, and speech therapists has found that two-thirds of therapists reported seeing a rise in early motor delays in infants in the past six years.

A survey of more than 400 pediatric physical, occupational, and speech therapists has found that two-thirds of therapists reported seeing a rise in early motor delays in infants in the past six years.

Results of the survey, conducted by Pathways Awareness with help from other national organizations, also found that respondents who saw an increase said that lack of supervised awake time babies can spend on their stomachs while awake is the primary contributor to the rise in cases.

Early motor delays occur when a child is not able to meet critical physical milestones in the first months and years of life, which can later affect a child's ability to learn basic skills such as chewing, grasping, crawling, standing and walking.

Pathwats Awareness is a national not-for-profit organization that educates parents and medical professionals about the benefits of early intervention for children who show development delays. Other organizations that assisted with the survey included the Neuro-Developmental Treatment Association and the Pediatric Section of the American Physical Therapy Association.