Program Success August 2014 | Page 12

Dr. Charles E . Simmons
By Dr . Charles E . Simmons Simmons Pediatrics , Jacksonville , FL Assisted By Dominique D . Barrs Medical Student
Charles Simmons Pediatrics Dominique D . Barrs Crawl Before Your Walk Jacksonville , Florida August 2014
As the old saying goes , " You must crawl before you walk ." This simple cliche suggests that there is a natural progression in the stages of development . You can ' t become President , if you haven ' t been a senator . You can ' t write a book , if you ' ve never written a story . For most children , development takes place in a fairly predictable sequence .
Babies are born with the ability to see , hear , and perform certain reflex actions such as grasping , urination , and defecation . With time , infants learn to consciously control these reflexes . They also learn that conscious movements formulated in the brain result in actual movement . The staged of development can be classified into 3 categories : Motor Skills , Vision and Manual Dexterity , and Social and Language Skills .
Sometimes when asked about the age of a baby , we place the age based on the child ' s ability . " Oh , well the baby can sit-up ." Well , how old is that ? Some might even say , " The baby just started walking ... so about a year old ?" This is a true assumption . Basic motor coordination progresses initially by " trial and error ." The infant watches its body parts and associates a particular movement pattern with its mental intention to make the movement , as a series of motor nerve signals . Also , muscles gradually become coordinated as the brain learns to combine patterns of movement by reinforcing and linking the neural pathways that control them . A newborn ' s grasp when its palm is touched , is one of the primitive reflexes that disappear in a few months . At a month old , a baby should be able to roll over , and bear its weight on its legs . At 6 months , the baby can sit unsupported , and they can crawl . Usually between the 10th and 18th month , the baby has learned to walk .
Vision and manual dexterity is basically the baby ' s visual and hand-eye coordination . A newborn is nearsighted , allowing them to only focus on objects up to 3 feet away . But after 6 months , their focus is sharper and objects ten feet away are now clear . The
eyes even move together , rather than the occasional appearing cross-eyed . Hand-eye coordination soon develops as the baby watches its fingers and senses what they touch . At 3 months , babies begin to reach for rattles and objects . Playing with feet is an indicator of a 6 month old baby . By 9 months , the baby is picking up small objects .
Social and Language Skills are easy determinants of development in youth . After a few weeks , a baby is alert and attentive to sound . They can turn their heads and follow the sound . Language develops from listening and associating sounds with objects and by practicing . Tn a child ' s second year , the child learns words at an elevated rate . At a month old , a baby can smile and squeal . At 9 months , the famous words , " mama and dada " arrive . At 10 months , no more bottle . The baby is now capable of holding a cup . At a year old , single words can be recited , and by 14 months , two words . At 17 months , the child can stay dry in the day . By 30 months , the child can talk in full sentences and stay dry at night .
The stages of development are predictable , but the ages at which they develop have its variation . It is now very well documented that Black babies develop at an accelerated rate , sometimes even months ahead . However , early development does not always mean the skill will become greater later , and some babies and children miss a stage and go straight on to the next one . There is an average range at which development occurs , and seeing no signs of development may indicate a problem .