Baby Steps: When to Seek Help with Milestones

Thank you to Wolfson Children's Rehabilitation Services for providing parents with helpful information and a variety of occupational, physical, and speech-language therapy programs for babies and children.

rehabFirst milestones for baby are major reasons for Mom and Dad to celebrate: the first time they give a sweet gummy grin, those first wobbly steps, the first time they say, “Mama.” But sometimes, infants and children need a little assistance in reaching those special milestones or even retraining the body to do certain things, whether it’s the result of a genetic condition, a sudden injury, or a different factor.

Suzanne Barje, PT, system manager for Wolfson Children’s Rehabilitation Services, shares that a variety of programs are offered to help children overcome those difficulties.

“Our goal is to help children of all ages with sensory, movement, feeding, and communication difficulties overcome those disorders so they can lead functional happy lives,” she says. “Since we only work with children, our clinics are designed and equipped with their needs in mind.”

First-year milestones

It’s no secret that children develop at different paces, some meeting milestones and certain fine and gross motor skills sooner or later than others, but Barje says parents should tell their pediatrician if:

  • A baby is not cooing by 6–8 weeks
  • A baby is not making good eye contact by 3 months
  • A baby is not holding his or her head steady by 4 months
  • A baby is not rolling side-to-side by 4 months
  • A baby is not babbling by 6–9 months
  • A baby is not sitting by 9 months

Your pediatrician will then determine if a referral to Wolfson Children’s Rehab is necessary.

Small steps worth celebrating

Services offered by Wolfson Children’s Rehab also go well beyond babies — they provide therapy and treatment well into childhood. In fact, hope is often just around the corner for children and their families who enter one of the six (soon-to-be seven) locations for rehabilitation services.

“As the child makes progress, even small steps, we celebrate,” Barje says. “Depending on the child’s cognitive level, he or she may get excited learning something new or conquering a task that seemed impossible a short time ago. It just gives the family hope.”

Barje adds that the numerous programs at Wolfson Children’s Rehab are set up to give families more knowledge, resources, and support to continue making progress at home.

The occupational, physical, and speech-language therapy at Wolfson Children’s Rehab can help improve and treat a variety of conditions, including:

  • Cerebral palsy
  • Developmental delays
  • Post-stroke
  • Post-rhizotomy
  • Spina bifida
  • Down syndrome
  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Acute and chronic medical or traumatic conditions
  • Feeding disorders
  • Apraxia
  • Speech impairments

Big gains through intensive therapy

In November 2020, Wolfson Children’s Rehabilitation will be expanding its services by opening a new Intensive Therapy Center (ITC) at Baptist HealthPlace at Nocatee. Individualized combinations of physical and occupational therapies will be offered to help children improve leg strength for standing and walking, in addition to increasing the use of their arms for building independent life skills.

Patients must apply for the programs offered at the ITC, which typically consist of three to five sessions per week, lasting three to six weeks.

Wolfson Children’s Rehab offers a wide range of services at locations throughout Northeast Florida. To learn more about Wolfson Children’s rehabilitation services, call (904) 202.4200. For more information about the Intensive Therapy Center (ITC), call (904) 516.1818.

Wolfson Children’s Hospital is the only hospital just for kids in the North Florida and South Georgia region, providing care for children of all ages with congenital heart conditions, cancer, neurological disorders, orthopedic conditions, behavioral health disorders, and more.


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