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The chain of child’s development

All basic human motor skills develop in the first two years of life. They do not appear spontaneously, but based on skills, which are developed already. And those, in turn, arise under the influence of unconditioned reflexes of newborns. So, there are special cases and effects of all movements of a child, and these movements form their sequence – chain. Let's go over the development process in more detail.

0 - 3,5 months

First two months of a child's life deal with the development and balancing of neck muscles. Relatively muscles of the posterior surface of the neck, the flexors of the head (sternocleidomastoid muscles) are developing faster. The muscles of lateral surfaces are developing less active. By the end of the second month, the child, who is held vertically, can hold their head on their own. It reacts to some minor changes in body position with a slight tilt of the head in the opposite direction (opposite tilting). In the first two months, the child raises their head briefly, being on their belly. The child is dissatisfied with dropping on their face, they are crying and it is normal. If the cry is ignored, the head will fall gradually, turning face right and left with approximately the same frequency. When the child is in a supine position, their head may be on the back of the head for a short time, and then it is «falling» on its side. Hips are constantly elated, they are pulled to belly periodically. The ability to hold the head on the back of the head and return it to this position after turns appears gradually.

From 2 to 3,5 months the ability of head and neck to resist body deviation from vertical position continues to develop. Muscles of the back, buttocks, muscles of the back of the thighs from the extensor side; rectus muscles of the belly and hips from the flexor side, oblique abdominal muscles involved in upheaval activity involved in the process. Muscles of the shoulder girdle and free upper limb develop. The child holds their head longer, being on their belly. The chest begins to rise, there is support on the forearms and manipulations. The child starts to spend time with more interest being on their belly. In the supine position, the legs rise higher, more straightening in the knees, longer holding. Head turns actively, watching what is happening around, hands reach to the sides. The body begins to rotate on its side behind its already turned head or behind its legs raised and lowering to the side. The child rolls over on their belly. As an example, which will give an idea of the possibilities of a child who has learned to turn over from back to belly correctly, one can imagine a burning candle. Let's imagine, that its flame is the child's head, and the candle is their body. Wherever you tilt the candle, its flame stays vertically. The same is with a child. They should keep their head up not just being on their belly, but also when their body is tilted back.

3,5 - 6 months

Long manipulations being on belly, the need to reach out constantly to interesting things forward and to the side strengthen the shoulder girdle and back, they lead first to the development of turns on belly and then to army crawling. The speed of body turning, being on belly, and amplitude gradually increase. Crawling, that starts from one-two pull-ups with both hands (sometimes from pushing with movements back), develops into a rapid movement involving legs and crawling over obstacles, that increase in height and size. Non-movement activity is also developing: alternating lifting and holding the body on straight arms (pose of the «cobra») appear with kneeling and lifting the pelvis with the head and chest lowered («swing»). The child likes to lie on their belly while raising legs and arms («skydiver»).

6 - 9 months

The interest to objects located above, need to overcome obstacles by moving the hull over them, lead to standing on all fours. The process on soft surfaces begins, which lasts a few seconds, and then child returns on belly. The child can stay on all fours longer and they start to swing back and forth. In the supine position, children begin to play with the feet of their raised and brought legs. The back is straight, the pelvis lies on the surface. In the position on all fours, step movements of the hands appear. If there is any support (like a bed), the child grabs the beam of the bed with one hand. On a flat surface, they often try to step with their hand to the side, turning around. Sitting on a flat surface, the child holds a flat back with pronounced lordosis (bending of the spine, convex forward) in the lumbar portion, arms raised and knees outward. Turns on all fours with hands lead to sitting in the «snake» position, and then the second thigh («Buddha») unfolds outward. Reciprocating walking movements of the legs on the knees join the alternating movements of the hands on all fours. Crawling on all fours develops. The crawling is mixed for some time: a few slow steps on all fours, then fast army crawling. Proportions change quickly, the child doesn't crawl on their belly anymore. Instead of it, child begins to climb with their hands on any support that is accessible in height, rising to high knees. Moving forward continues with forward extension and standing on feet. It happens both on all fours and on high knees with lowered and raised pelvis. Child crawls over any objects on the way (including dad and mom) with excitement. There are elements of standing on both feet.

9 - 12 months

The first full-fledged independent standing up at support appears where you can comfortably grab with your fingers: more often in the crib, less often in objects that allow them to cling tightly and pull themselves up. Standing is short-term, followed by sitting down, often accompanied by falls. This experience leads to the development of stomp in place in an attempt to maintain balance. The child recklessly stomps, cushioning in their knees, turning around a bit, rearranging their hands. The interest in objects on the side leads to the appearance of crossover side steps near the support. First, these are steps sideways (crossover side steps), resting on two hands, then a half-side, with a turn slightly forward and a detachment from the surface of one of the hands. The child begins to play with both hands standing on their feet, the child leans against the surface with their hips and belly. The balance improves in the process of frequently changing positions on belly, on all fours, sitting in a «snake» position, playing with one hand, in «Buddha» position, standing, moving along the support. The child detaches from support, playing along it, balances. There are short runs between supports. The steps are short and on the full foot, knees are slightly bent, feet are set wide apart. First conscious steps are always straight. Obstacles on the way are overcome at first only with the help of a grip or support with hands on nearby objects. Attempts to step faster often lead to falls, open spaces, and unknown locations hold down movements. The way becomes gradually longer, the direction becomes more difficult. Independent walking develops from the first steps (10-12 months) in the second year of life in such activities as climbing Swedish stairs, running, jumping in place, and the ability to climb stairs without a railing. The descent down the stairs without the help of hands is formed by the last of the main elements of independent movement at the turn of 2 and 3 years of life.

Now let's highlight the key elements of development, they are also the links in the chain and remove the link to age. We get the ideal development algorithm (IDA):

  • 1. Vertical head control
  • 2. Ability and desire to lie on belly with head raised and support on forearms.
  • 3. Turns from back to belly.
  • 4. Body turns to the sides on belly.
  • 5. Army crawling.
  • 6. Crawling over obstacles.
  • 7. Standing on all fours.
  • 8. Turns on all fours.
  • 9. Sitting into the «snake» and «Buddha» positions.
  • 10. Turns and crawling on all fours.
  • 11. Standing up to high knees at support.
  • 12. Standing up from one foot to the feet at support.
  • 13. Walking along support.
  • 14. Independent walking.
  • 15. Development of the basic elements of movements: climbing, running, jumping, walking up- and downstairs.

The presented development algorithm was created during evolution and is based on unconditioned, installation, and chain reflexes implemented in human society. It provides for the minimum intervention of mentors in the development process for healthy and conditionally healthy children; It should be a model and guideline in habilitation for children with motor impairment. In the INTRODUCTION, the importance of the everyday routine components surrounding the child was mentioned. It is obvious that with the development of motor skills, the everyday routine components should be modified.

Everyday routine components

  • Independent activity.
  • The position in the hands of an adult.
  • Sitting: on the floor, on a chair, in a stroller, on an adult’s lap, on a potty.
  • Positions for feeding.
  • Positions for bathing.

Key skills of IDA are being markers of changes in everyday routine components: turns from back to belly; army crawling with crawling over obstacles; standing from one foot to the feet at support; first independent steps.

Thus, the ideal development algorithm is divided into 5 stages, each of which has its everyday routine components.

Stage 1:

  • vertical head control;
  • ability and desire to lie on belly with head raised and support on forearms;
  • turns from back to belly.

Stage 2:

  • body turns to the sides on belly;
  • army crawling;
  • crawling over obstacles.

Stage 3:

  • standing on all fours;
  • turns on all fours;
  • sitting into the «snake» and «Buddha» positions;
  • turns and crawling on all fours;
  • standing up to high knees at support;
  • standing up from one foot to the feet at support.

Stage 4:

  • walking along supports;
  • independent walking.

Stage 5:

  • development of the basic elements of movements: climbing, running, jumping, walking up-, and downstairs.

To understand what stage your child is at, go to the DIAGNOSTICS section. Next, you need to turn to the selected stage and get acquainted with its features in more detail, learn the rules of communication (behavior, life) with a child (everyday routine components), ways of development assistance, ways of correcting pathological conditions, which will be discussed in the following sections.