Starfish Therapies

February 28, 2010

Does Gross Motor Development Affect Cognitive Development?

Your Therapy Source recently posted about a press release (Reference: Simple tests in babyhood ‘could point to children who need help with learning’ Retrieved from the web on 2/18/2010 from http://www.cls.ioe.ac.uk/news.asp?section=000100010003&item=557) that may link gross motor delays at 9 months to cognitive delays at 5 years.  I also did a little more searching and found a posting about cognitive and motor delays with the increasing incidence of plagiocephaly (flat head syndrome) in babies.  I’m not posting these to cause alarm among parents but rather because it raised some interesting questions for me.  I started to think about some of the kids I work with and the fact that due to their delays they have a decreased ability to explore and interact with their environment.  This also decreases their chances for problem solving movements and making decisions based on their perception and awareness of the environment.  Could this be a reason for the cognitive delays that may be seen?  Is it a factor of decreased chances for free mobility and interaction so that they can draw conclusions about the world around them?  In addition, looking at plagiocephaly I go back to my stance on the importance of tummy time for infant development and exploration.  I think that we need to increase the opportunities for our kids to explore their world, and look for creative ways for those children who have more significant motor impairments.  Notice in the pictures above that tummy time doesn’t always have to be done on the floor, you can create different environments for it so that the child has something more stimulating to engage with and as a result possibly have more fun playing on their tummy and increase their tolerance!

I love the fact that these postings sparked some questions for me, and I know that more research is needed to really determine if there is a cause and effect relationship.  What do you think?

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