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How A Paediatric Physio Will Assess Your Child’s Gross Motor Skills

or call us today at 0207 884 0374

Paediatric physiotherapists use standardised assessments called outcome measures to assess your child on a validated scale that can then be used to monitor their progress objectively rather than subjectively. This can help the physiotherapist establish a baseline and help to guide treatment and set appropriate goals. It also helps the physiotherapist determine the effectiveness of treatment and determine the child’s ability and function in relation to other children their age.

baby in tunnel

The Alberta Infant Motor Scale (AIMS) is used to assess babies’ gross motor development between 0 and 18 months.  It is an observational scale; during an assessment the physio will watch your baby and score their gross motor skills in four different positions; supine (lying on their back), prone (lying on their tummy), sitting and standing.

In Supine

When lying on their back, the therapist will look at if they can they bring their hands to midline, to the head position, whether they can touch their knees and feet, and whether they can roll.

In Prone

The therapist will look at their posture whilst lying on their tummy, whether they can lift their head, where their arms are in relation to their body, how are they supporting themselves, whether they can move in this position, whether they are trying to roll, whether they can get into a crawling position and finally if they can crawl.


In Sitting

Can the child sit unaided or do they need support? While sitting do they need to use their hands for support or can they reach for toys? Can they move their legs and maintain stability, and finally can they move in and out of the position?

In Standing

Initially when held in a standing position, what do they do with their legs? What is their posture like, do they need to hold onto a surface to stand, can they pull up to stand, can they cruise along furniture, can they stand alone and finally can they take steps on their own?



The final score will then be plotted on a percentile graph to compare their motor skills to other children their age from a ‘typically developing’ population.

If your baby lies within the 5th-90th percentile, they are developing age appropriately. However, if they are below the 90th percentile they are considered to have a developmental delay and the physio can then see how far behind they are and monitor their progression. Using this scale also helps to give parents a visual idea as to there their child’s development is, and see what the next step is with regards to their child’s gross motor skills.

If you are concerned about your child’s development our highly specialist physiotherapists can assess your child using the The Alberta Infant Motor Scale and provide you with a treatment plan if indicated. Contact us today on 020 7884 0374 or email