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Postnatal Motor Skills Development

Motor skills are generally divided into gross motor skills and fine motor skills . Gross motor skills refer to those involving large muscle activities, while fine refers to more finely tuned activities such as finger dexterity.

Gross motor skills

At birth the infant has no real co-ordination of the chest or arms but by 1 month can lift its head from a prone position. By about 3 months, the infant can hold its chest up and use the arms for support after being in a prone position. At 3-4 months, infants can roll over, and by 4-5 months can support some weight with their legs. At 6 months most infants can sit without support and by 7-8 months they can crawl and stand without support. At about 8 months, infants can pull themselves up to a standing position and at 10/11 months they can walk while holding on to furniture and the like. By 12-13 months the average infant can walk without assistance (but uneasily and only a few steps).

It should be noted that these figures are for reference only and these milestones can vary by 2 to 4 months. What is fairly uniform is the order in which this sequence of events happens.

Fine motor skills

Infants have hardly any control over fine motor skills at birth, although they have many components of what will become highly tuned arm, hand and finger movements (cf. an infant's reflexes ). The development of such behaviours as grasping and reaching become increasingly more refined over the first 2 years of life. The maturation of hand-eye co-ordination over the first 2 years of life is also reflected in the improvement of fine motor skills.

The information in this page is presented in summarised form and has been taken from the following source(s):
1. Child Development , 6th Edition (1994), J. W. Santrock, Wm. C. Brown Communications, Inc.


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  http://www.hon.ch/Dossier/MotherChild/postnatal/motor_skills.html Last modified: Jun 25 2002