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Developmental Movements

The earliest ways in which your child learns about themselves and the world around them is through touch and movement. These are the foundations for complex learning processes; these first modalities of learning are the base for relationships, perception, physical agility, and cognitive functioning. Overall, it forms the base for the general ease with which your child can grow and develop. Children learn through the senses and movement of the body. Your baby's reflexes are small movements that help their brain learn. They connect their experiences (sensing or touching) with action or movement, which is the beginning of the brain/body connection, neural pathways, and reflex connections. These processes influence each other. In other words, your child's brain development affects movement, and their movement affects their nervous system.

Primitive reflexes organize the brain for hearing and vision and learning, emotional balance, and attention. Clusters of reflexes produce developmental movements that aid the building and organizing of neurological connections in the brain. Reflexes that not fully developed or are immature affect sensory inputs, focus and learning, and body awareness. One can say that these reflexes are the first steps your baby takes to develop their motor skills and be aware of and organize their bodies. Your baby learns movement progressively. First, your baby learns a series of fundamental movement patterns that act as building blocks for complex movements. For instance, as your baby lies or sits on the ground in various positions, they learn to stabilize their heads so that they can see the world. It is a foundation for a complex action like postural control, which is necessary for standing or walking. In the case of grabbing objects, your baby learns the arm/ trunk coordination patterns, which are also used in crawling and walking and then complex movements like throwing and climbing. These reflexes can also be referred to as developmental patterns.

Moreover, these patterns can be thought of as neural control programs that can be combined in different ways to create a plethora of movements. It also makes the formation of complex action simpler in terms of neural control. In other words, the brain contains a limited number of patterns so as not to be overwhelmed. But this restricted set patterns can be combined to produce complex actions like the example given above. However, if a foundational building block is missing, one's everyday movements will be compromised.

For your baby to develop these 'building blocks' or developmental movements, they need to be provided with the opportunity to do so. Playing with them or engaging them in physical activity is an excellent way to help them develop these movements; they can crawl, lie around, and sit. The point is to develop these movements to be able to function effectively.


Burns, C. (n.d.). Developmental movement. Retrieved from of-development/developmental-movement/

Hargrove, T. (2013). Developmental Movements: Part One. Retrieved from

Infant Developmental Movement Education. (n.d.). Retrieved from education/

Lambrecht, D. (2019). What is Developmental Movement and Why Does My Child Need it? Retrieved from does-my-child-need-it

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