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What is paediatric late walking?

Late walking is when a child has not reached the walking milestone of development at the expected age. This will slow the development and the independence of the child and so it is a problem that needs to be addressed.

What causes late walking in children?

Late walking can be caused by motor problems which specifically affect walking. It can also occur as a result of conditions which affect overall development, including walking. Some of these conditions include cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy and Down’s syndrome.

Practicing walking between the parrallel bar with therapist assistance.Above: Practicing walking between the parrallel bar with therapist assistance.

What are the symptoms of late walking in children?

The main symptom is that the child is behind in walking development. The following timeline shows the general stages of walking development:
  • 10 months – standing with support
  • 12 months – standing independently and walking with support
  • 15 months – walking independently
  • 18 months – running
The above is a general guide only. Some children will naturally develop late with no underlying cause.

What can physiotherapy do to help children with late walking problems?

Physiotherapy treatment will consist of exercises and activities to encourage walking. They will be aimed at strengthening the legs, promoting balance and building the confidence of the child to stand and walk.

If physiotherapy treatment has been used and there is nothing more to help, our specialised physiotherapists are happy to refer the child on to a specialist.


Late walking can cause problems with further development and prevent a child becoming independent. Physiotherapy can help a child to walk.

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