What are Developmental Milestones?

Developmental milestones are behaviours which reflect the development of the brain and spinal cord, occurring in the same sequence in all children. The rate of development may vary and this may be due to genetics (eg late walking or talking)  environmental factors (eg lack of appropriate stimulation can slow normal development), physical factors (such as deafness, hypotonia) or spinal dysfunction (spinal joint fixations causing nerve interference).

How the Brain Grows and Develops!

The infant’s brain and nervous system grows and develops depending on sensory input. They get this sensory input from their eyes, ears, taste, touch and from proprioception. Proprioception is all the information and messages going to the brain from the joints, muscles and ligaments.

What Happens When There Are Misalignments In The Spine?

Spinal misalignments (known as subluxations) produces nerve irritation, altering sensory information to the brain. It is like talking on a bad phone line, you cannot clearly hear or understand everything.   This altered sensory information will affect brain development. A good example of this occurs in babies with flat heads. The flat head is mainly due to spinal dysfunction in the neck. Recent research has found 40% of these babies will have learning difficulties by the age of 7 years , if not treated. Ie their brain development has been affected.

Misaligned Vertebrae Can Directly Affect Development!

Neck problems are very common, especially with a difficult labour and or the use of forceps or vacuum extraction. These neck problems cause pain, which may prevent your baby from lifting their head on tummy time or wanting to crawl. Lower spinal problems (Sacral spine) are common, especially with a fast delivery or hard and fast contractions. Sacral misalignments may cause low back pain, delaying your child from wanting to stand or walk. Correcting the misaligned vertebrae eliminates the pain, often allowing your infant to start enjoying tummy time, crawling or walking within 48 hrs.

Shoulder  Joint Problems Can Also Affect Development!

Shoulder problems are relatively common in the newborn, particularly those who have a traumatic birth, long labour or birth weight over 3kg. Often the baby or infant will have difficulty on tummy time. They will become upset after short while and rolling or crawling may be delayed. The joint problem causes pain with tummy time and this stops the baby from doing that particular activity. In these cases there is often a very quick response once we have corrected the joint problem. It is common for babies and infants with this type of problem to roll or crawl within 48 hrs of the first treatment. In these cases there has not been a significant impact on brain development, the joint problem is local and it is the joint pain which has limited the progress.

What Do Chiropractors Do?

As paediatric chiropractors, we detect joint dysfunction along with it’s effect on the nervous system. By correcting the joint dysfunction it allows normal sensory input and optimal brain development. Once the normal sensory input has been restored by correcting the spinal dysfunction, the child will need help with stimulating the nervous system by increasing the desired    sensory input. This can be achieved by programs such as Gymbaroo.




Sleeps most of time, can eat, clear airways, and  respond with crying.


Regards objects in the line of vision, Begins to smile when spoken to, Lies flat on abdomen, Head lag on pull to sit

3 months    

Smiles, vocalizes and follows moving object with their eyes. Holds head steady on sitting. Grasps objects placed in hands

6 months 

Sits with support and rolls over. Babbles to toys. Transfers an object from hand to hand

9 months 

Sits well, crawls, and pulls themselves to standing  position.  Says “ mama” and “dada”; plays pat-a-cake. Waves bye- bye and holds their bottle.

1 year

Walks with their hands held. Speaks several words and helps dress themselves

18 months 

Walks well, can climb stairs holding on. Turns several book pages at a time. Speaks about 10 words. Pulls toys on string and partially feeds themselves.

2 yrs

Runs well, climbs up and down stairs alone. Turns single book pages, puts on simple clothing. Makes 2-3 word sentences, and verbalizes toilet needs.

3 yrs   

Rides a tricycle, dresses well except for buttons and laces. Counts to 10 and uses plurals. Questions constantly and feeds themselves well

4 yrs   

Alternates feet when going up and down stairs. Throws a ball overhand, hops on one foot, copies a cross. Knows at least one colour, washes hands and face. Takes care of toilet needs

5 yrs

Skips, catches a bouncing ball, copies a triangle, knows 4 colours, and dresses and undresses without help.