Before discussing reflexes and motor development, it is important to understand the physiological aspect of development. Then, it helps to better understanding of the development process. “Before birth, physical growth and development follow the cephalocaudal principle and the Proximodistal principle.” (Papalia & Martorell, 2015 pg. 105.) While in the womb, “growth occurs from the top down and inner to outer” (Papalia & Martorell, 2015 pg. 105.) This central and upper and extremities and lower is the normal growth pattern. “Reflexes are predictable patterns of posture or movement.” (Lilly, 2018.) All of this together, is vitally important with the development of fine and gross motor skills in the youngster. Motor skills are defined as behavioral ability to perform complex muscular movement.
Furthermore, “the brain and reflex behavior are functions of the central nervous system, the brain and the spinal cord, (bundle of nerves running through the back bone and growing peripheral network of nerves extending to every part of the body. Through this network, sensory messages travel to the brain, and motor commands travel back.” (Papalia & Martorell, 2015 pg. 109) Plasticity (malleability) is of critical importance. Life experiences affect brain growth. The early child hood is a time of rapid changes in the brain. This even includes death (apoptosis) of cell to make room for new cells. “Building the brain is a life long process.” (Papalia & Martorell, 2015 pg. 109) “Brain growth occurs in brain growth spurts. “(Papalia & Martorell, 2015 pg. 109.) During early childhood the brain matures rapidly. “Different parts of the brain grow more rapidly at different times.” (Papalia & Martorell, 2015 pg. 109) The brain is divided into four locations called lobes. The lobes are named frontal (cognitive), parietal (sensory), occipital (visual) and temporal (memory). Each lobe is designed for an activity which controls functions of the human body. Each lobe has a special cognitive function. Neurons transmit the information on what action is to be commenced. “Through integration, the neurons that control various groups of muscles coordinate their activities. Though differentiation, each neuron takes on specific specialized structure and function.” (Papalia & Martorell, 2015 pg. 112.) Thus, “myelination, process of coating neural pathways with a fatty substance call myelin which enables faster communication between the cells.” (Papalia & Martorell, 2015 pg.112) “Evidence shows that young brains form neurological and muscular connections required” (Winger & Underwood, 1997) for physiological advancement. Microcephaly is defined as small brain with megalocephaly as the anthesis. Proper nutrition, hygiene and proper immunizations (vaccinations against measles, mumps, diphtheria and polio), medical attention is vital currently. Breast milk is preferred over formula, unless contraindicated.
Also, “early reflexes are automatic reflex behavior” (Papalia & Martorell, 2015 pg. 114.) response to stimulation is called a reflex behavior (Papalia & Martorell, 2015 pg.114.) “Human infants have an estimated 27 major reflexes which are present at birth or soon after” (Papalia & Martorell, 2015 pg. 124) “sensory capacities present at birth and even in the womb develop rapidly in the first month of life” (Papalia & Martorell, 2015 pg. 124.) “Touch is the first sensory to develop and mature in newborns. They are sensitive to pain smell, taste and hearing.” (Papalia & Martorell, 2015 pg. 124) “Motor skills develop in a certain sequence which largely depend on maturation” (Papalia & Martorell, 2015 pg. 125.)
In addition, “reflexes, a response to stimulus that is simple and predictable.” (Lilly, 2018.) and motor development refers to the body’s development physiologically to perform within its environment. It’s a progression of skills. Simply stated the progression of simple to complex and individual experiences to vary from one individual to the next. Early human reflexes examples include; “Moro (startled), Darwinian (palm, ulnar side stroke makes a tight fist), Tonic Neck (supine), Babkin (bilateral palm stroke results in open mouth, eyes close, neck flex and head tilt), Babinski (lateral plantar stroke), Rooting (cheek stroke results in sucking movements), Walking (infant held under arms & weight bearing on plantar touching flat surface) and Swimming.” (Papalia & Martorell, 2015 pg115.) All of which have a typical projected age of appearance and disappearance. Tonic Reflexes defines as “the occurrence of an appreciable interval after the production of a reflex before relaxation. (Farlex, 2012) The phases of reflexes include: mediated at spine, brain stem, midbrain, and cortex level.
Moreover, primitive reflexes (infantile/newborn reflexes) originate in the central nervous system. An example of a primitive reflex “maybe part of humanity’s evolutionary legacy.” “Example of grasping reflexes which enables infant monkey to hold onto mother’s fur” (Papalia & Martorell, 2015 pg. 114) “Early reflexes are automatic reflex behavior” (Papalia & Martorell, 2015 pg. 114.) response to stimulation is called a reflex behavior (Papalia & Martorell, 2015 pg.114.) “Human infants have an estimated 27 major reflexes which are present at birth or soon after” (Papalia & Martorell, 2015 pg. 124) “sensory capacities present at birth and even in the womb develop rapidly I the first moth of life” (Papalia & Martorell, 2015 pg. 124.) “Touch is the first sensory to develop and mature in newborns. They are sensitive to pain smell, taste and hearing.” (Papalia & Martorell, 2015 pg. 124) “Motor skills develop in a certain sequence which largely depend on maturation” (Papalia & Martorell, 2015 pg. 125.) Infancy and adulthood reflexes are different, neurologically.
Continuing,” protective responses: reflexes that continue to serve and protect functions such as blinking, yawning, coughing, gaging, sneezing, shivering, and dilation of the pupils in the dark. Disappearance of unneeded reflexes on a schedule is a sign that motor pathways in the cortex have been partially myelinated, enabling a shift to a voluntary behavior. Thus, we can evaluate a baby’s neurological development by seeing whether certain reflexes are absent or present.” (Papalia & Martorell, 2015 pg 114)
Indeed, equilibrium and balance reaction are also important. Generally, manifests after seven months. This helps to assist in the body to help orientate itself. Develops as “prone, supine, sitting, quadruped, kneeling, and standing.” (Lilly, 2018) In fact, reflex movement are involuntary and voluntary movements that are almost instant.
As well as, impact on normal development of child is affected in many ways. For instance, sometimes unmet developmental goals are minor and will correct with time. Not all unmet goals are catastrophic. Though, some warning signs and symptoms are significant. A trained, qualified medical professional (pediatrician) can only make a diagnosis. Other opinions are always options. A Doctor will assess for anatomic indications as well as labs, or even maybe diagnostic examinations.
Notably, baby learns simple to complex skills during the learning process called systems of action. Founding ideas have developed screenings to determine normal growth and development. The Denver Developmental Screening Test is a test to treat and to evaluate if a child around the age of one month to six years is growing within normal ranges. This test measures childhood skills such as gross and fine motor skills. These developments tend towards “cephalocaudal (head to tail) and Proximodistal (inner to outer.) (Papalia ; Martorell, 2015 pg. 119.)
Also, milestones of motor development are used to gauge growth. These are expected and appropriate for certain ages. Though, individual’s results may vary, and people are independent. “Rolling over (3.2 months), Grasping rattle (3.3 months), sitting without support (5.9 months), standing while holding on (7.2months), grasping with thumb and finger (8.2 months), standing alone (11.5 months), walking well (12.3 months), building a tower of two cubes (14.8 months), walking up steps (16.6 months), jumping in place (23.8 months), copying circle (3.4 years.)” (Papalia & Martorell, 2015 pg. 119) Early recognition of developmental delay is of critical importance. Early evaluation, treatment and interventions are key. Quick and swift interventions are indicated to help treat or curtail the effects of missed milestones. If certain development processes are missed or delayed stalls in development may occur. The cognitive impact of a delay in development maybe potentially significant even if a short of one or two months. Missed milestone could affect the progression of childhood walking. Walking usually presents around 10 to 17 months. Some children require longer time to develop this ability. Factors that may delay development such as birth defects, social skills, impaired cognitive ability all are examples of such.
Eleanor and James Gibson theory of ecological perception entails “developing and motor perceptual abilities as interdependent parts of a functional system that guides behavior in varying context.” (Papalia & Martorell, 2015 pg. 121) as evidence by a learning to learn approach. Another founding theorist is Ester Thelen, with her dynamic system theory (DST) which holds the tenants “motor development is dynamic process of active coordination of multiple systems within the infant in a relation to the environment.” (Papalia & Martorell, 2015, pg. 122) Intelligence “testing enable people to acquire, remember and use knowledge to understand concepts and relationships to solve everyday problems” (Papalia & Martorell, 2015 pg. 129)
In conclusion, I invite you to address my question to my classmates; does gender make a difference in development? Which type of nutrition is generally assumed to be healthier for a growing child? Should a child have vaccinati