Should I push for PT referral for 8.5 month old?

Hi! My 8.5 mo old has always been on the slow end of gross motor milestones, but until now, he has met them within the normal range. Now, I feel like he’s behind but I’m not sure if it’s enough to warrant a PT eval.
He can roll both ways (back to belly and belly to back), although he almost always rolls to his left - despite lots of blocking and attempts to make him practice to his right! He doesn’t roll much anymore, though. He spends most of his time happily on his tummy or sitting.
He sits well and reaches to the side to get toys, and can reach in front basically chest to the floor and get back up with good balance.
He just started pivoting and pushing up onto his hands (straight arms) at 8 months.
He has not gotten onto hands and knees, and he does not know how to get from sitting to belly or belly to sitting. No army crawling, no pulling to stand. He will bear weight if we hold him in standing, but he’s definitely nowhere close to that on his own - very wobbly :slight_smile:
When I try to look at milestones online, it seems like he’s a month or two behind in that he can’t transition into or out of sitting yet, isn’t creeping or army crawling, and doesn’t get onto hands and knees.
Any advice from the experienced PTs? He sees the pediatrician in a week for his 9 mo appt, and I’m not sure if I should push for a PT eval or not. I’d like to have some idea of what to ask for when I go into the appointment because I feel like most pediatricians favor a “wait and see” approach - and also sometimes the appointments go by so quickly that I never get a chance to really talk things through with them!

Thank you so much for any input!

Hi @BrianaP -this is an interesting question. It’s difficult to assess without seeing your baby, but several of the milestones you’re waiting for do have a range:

Getting in and out of sitting- Approximately 7-9 months

Crawling: 6-10 months

Pulling to stand-around 7-9 months

(These are all approximate as every website will say something slightly different)

So at 8.5 months, he’s not on the early side of these milestones, but also not exactly delayed.

That being said, many states have free Early Intervention evaluations and if you are concerned, then call your state’s program and request an evaluation. In my state (NJ) you can request one ever 3 months. If nothing else, it will give you peace of mind. And if the evaluator gets a sense that he does need a bit of help after a hands-on evaluation, then you’ll also feel better that you didn’t wait.

During these months, there’s so much that happens over a very short span and when some babies take an extra few weeks, it’s common and understandable to be a bit nervous, but in reality we’re only talking about a few weeks to a month or so. What we therapists are most concerned with is if a baby is making steady progress towards his milestones and is happy and motivated to be playing and moving around.

Trust your mom gut-you know your baby best and if you’re worried then there’s absolutely nothing wrong with getting him checked out.

Keep us posted!!!


Thank you so much for your reply! I feel much better seeing those ranges. There are so many different sources for milestones online… I had gotten the idea that some of those skills (getting into and out of sitting, rocking on hands and knees) were 7 month skills and that he was therefore almost 2 months behind and in need of Early Intervention. I definitely plan to talk with the pediatrician about it, but I don’t feel like I need to insist on a PT referral if she doesn’t think it’s necessary. He has made steady progress and has always been on the slower side, so maybe this is just his speed. It’s good to know that if I want to pursue Early Intervention after his 9 mo appt - like if he hasn’t progressed by 10 months - I can do that on my own and not wait until his 12 month well visit.
Thanks again!

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I think you are good to be paying attention and talk to the doctor. They could tell you there’s no need to worry. I also agree with @tots-allison that there is such a range. I’m attaching our Developmental Milestone Round Up with tons of resources to help you support your little one on some of the skills you are questioning! Hopefully the resources are helpful!

Thank you so much! I have been using your video on how to get into sitting using the ball - I think I found it on Instagram a while ago and saved it :smiley:. I’ve been trying to get him to side sit but he’s not at all interested in that position LOL, so I will check out your video for that (and others). I’m sure that would help him with his transition onto tummy. So many great resources, thanks again!

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Oh good! Please don’t hesitate to reach out with questions!!

Depending on your state, an Early Intervention evaluation can at least give you a good idea for next steps, which you have a good grasp of, but might share strategies to get there, even if your child doesn’t demonstrate a significant enough need for direct services.

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Additionally, I think of this period as a critical phase. Your child can maintain positions but not move readily between them if they require rotation movements, good core strength, or whole body coordination.
A few cues on how to approach changing positions could be a huge breakthrough for your child, and move them further down the developmental trail toward independent mobility.

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Thank you so much for your input! I’m sorry I didn’t see this until today. My pediatrician suggested a PT referral, and we’re in the process of getting the EI eval. The official evaluation by the PT and other therapist with the EI program is on Thursday - it’s a teletherapy eval, so I’m not sure how that’s going to work, but I’m relieved that someone will be able to at least virtually take a look at him :slight_smile:

Good luck! Keep us posted :blush:

Great! And a lot can be seen over a virtual eval so hopefully it goes well. We would love to hear how it goes!

Yay! He scored a 79, which is a moderate delay and technically would not have qualified, but the PT decided to qualify him based on clinical opinion. I think it will really help him. It is teletherapy but she says it has been working well. I’m excited to have an expert opinion and help for him. I’ve had a lot of minor concerns that the pediatrician hasn’t been too worried about, but I’ll be glad to have the PT input for sure.

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I’m glad you will be getting PT! It’s nice to have the help!

Amazing!! It’ll give you peace of mind and tips that are specific to his needs.