Gross motor skill development refers to a child’s ability to effectively use the large muscle groups that control arm, leg, and core body movement. These muscles support their body’s ability to walk, reach, lift, throw, sit upright, and maintain balance and coordination.
Between birth and six months, a typically developing child will turn his head from side to side and begin loosely controlled kicking. As his upper body develops he will learn to raise himself onto his elbows while lying on his stomach. He will roll his body from one side to the other. The baby’s gross motor control will continue to develop into purposeful, directed movement. Soon he will be able to reach for people and objects and will turn away when he is disinterested or tired of play.
Many children with autism experience developmental delays in their ability to use their bodies’ large muscle groups. They may have difficulty lying on their tummies and raising their head or being able to position their arms so as to prop themselves up on their elbows. These are the precursor movements necessary for rolling, creeping and crawling.
Early intervention with engaging toys that provide a variety of sights, sounds and textures will stimulate your baby’s cognitive development as well as encourage him to exercise and strengthen these large muscle groups. The TINY LOVE Jungle Park Activity Gym provides 4 hanging toys for baby to reach for, bat at and grasp while lying on his back. As his arm and neck muscles become stronger, put your baby on his tummy in front of the mirror or put the toys in front of him at eye level to attract his attention. The tummy time pillow placed under his chest can support his weight and keeps his arms forward while he develops the additional strength and coordination he needs to prop himself on his elbows with his head up. He’ll be cruising along before you know it!Tags: baby toys, gross motor development, gross motor skills, play, toys for autistic children, toys for children with autism