This article throws light upon the top three stages of locomotion in child. The stages are: 1. Crawling and Creeping 2. Sitting 3. Standing and Walking.
Locomotion: Stage # 1.
Crawling and Creeping:
Ames, through his long and patient observations, discovered 14 stages through which the child grows, before he is able to crawl and creep properly. The series begins with the thrusting out of one knee forward beside the body by about the age of 28 weeks.
The median age for crawling is 34 weeks (Fig. 4.4); it is, generally, the time when a child starts moving about with its abdomen in contact with the floor. The locomotive skill in crawling is perfected by the time of 49 weeks.
Locomotion: Stage # 2.
Ability to assume the sitting posture is not the result of some reflex action. The ability to sit, develops very early. A child of say, 3 or 4 months, can be seated with support, for a short stint. By the age of 7 or 8 months, the child can sit without support. Once the child has achieved this ability, the skill to do it develops rapidly. A 8-month-old child can keep sitting independently for a long time.
Locomotion: Stage # 3.
Standing and Walking:
The most remarkable work in this regard is that of McGrow, Thomson’s article is also an important contribution. The child matures gradually till he is able to walk. To be able to stand with support is the first stage in the direction (Fig. 4.5); and it is achieved by about the age of 38 weeks.
The elders can help the child to step on forward, of course, in a very rude and awkward manner supporting it with a finger or so. When the child is 62 weeks old, it can stand alone independently. It may be taken as the last stage in the development of motor skill; and another two weeks or so (by 64 weeks of age) the child is able to walk – with no support of any kind required.
These are the median ages, individual variations, of course, are there. Some walk as early as 9 months, and some as late as 18 months. “There is always merging of patterns, and parts of patterns both in the degree of perfection of the action and in the frequency of occurrence.”
In their observations, the investigators also found that in many cases, there would be regression to less mature responses. In the development of the capabilities to sit, Stand and walk, it is maturation of neuromuscular systems that has major impact.
Environmental conditions should, of course, not be impeding the course of nature. Practice can also help in the natural course of locomotive development. It is a fact that if there is nothing to thwart the course of neuromuscular development, the child would achieve the capability to sit, to stand and to walk, even if no special training for the same is imparted to it, to have the skill for these motor activities.
Dennis for the sake of experiment, prevented two female twin children to sit till they were nine months old; they were kept lying on their backs, and could get no chance to sit ever. Then, the restrictions were removed, and it was found that the twins very rapidly made up for the retarded period.
The most retardation was witnessed in case of sitting. At 37 weeks, they were given opportunities to sit; at first they failed to sit, but after some days they could do this. .
“…………..Experience affects not only the ages at which motor items appear but also their very form.”