An Overview of Gross Motor Skills
It is exasperating and at the same time very saddening to know that, while other moms are raving on and on about how their little angels have started to walk and feed themselves and developed gross motor skills, your little angel does not show any signs of accomplishing either of the above. But do not get disheartened as there is a time for everything; some children tend to start walking rather quickly as compared to others. It is normal, but if there is a considerable delay in your child’s walking and feeding abilities, then rest assured that there are ways to speed up the process to compensate for the lost time. Read on to find out how you can encourage and support your child to develop his/her gross motor skills and gross motor abilities
What is Normal When it Comes to Gross Motor Skill and Gross Motor Abilities in Children?
There are certain indicators which are used by pediatricians in order to measure and get an idea of how infants are physically emerging. Though these indicators can be different depending on the physical development of each individual baby, there are certain time frames in which each baby develops his gross motor abilities. Some babies start to take their first steps in life at the age of 9 months while some start walking at the age of 14 months. This should not at all be alarming. According to research done on the subject, babies generally at the age of 5 months, start to crack a smile, manage to do rollovers and their curiosity for reaching for things is developed. At the age of 9 months, babies normally develop the ability to grasp small things with their index finger and thumb. Some kids at the age of 8 months do not require parental supervision when sitting anywhere. By the age of 10 months they are able to stand up on their own and finally at the age of 14 months they exhibit the ability to walk.
Some children display two skills at once, for instance gross motor skills and speaking skills. Though some children tend to walk and talk at the same time from an early age this is not the case for everybody. Some babies might try to work hard in order to develop one skill, for example talking, and may involuntarily disregard learning other abilities such as walking or grabbing little things. They tend to try and master one ability first before they tackle the other one, this is natural and nothing to worry about.
What Are Some of the More Prevalent Reasons for Delay in Gross Motor Skills Developing?
Most kids are quite cautious; they want to be sure about doing something before even trying to attempt it. For instance, most kids might think that if they climb up a chair, will they be able to get back down. Most kids just want to be sure that they will be safe before attempting that first hesitant step.
Whether it is talking, crawling or walking, some babies will always think about safety before trying to become experienced in any first time activity.
When talking about strength it will be best if you think up of anybody in your family who is an athlete or a music player; specifically gifted kids tend to exhibit their innate abilities at the age of 1. So if a child starts to develop speaking capabilities at a very tender age, he/she will most likely end up becoming a talented actor or writer. Kids who develop walking abilities at an early age may become athletes. But remember that children who tend to blossom a bit later than normal can also equally achieve such capabilities at later stages. In no way should they be considered weaker than others.
Kids who have older brothers or sisters tend to achieve their goals sooner than expected because they look up to their siblings and try to rival them. So they try and try hard to keep up. But it could also mean the reverse, children who have older brothers or sisters also tend to develop their gross motor skills a bit late, for example if they let their older siblings help them with picking up stuff or feeding themselves.
Babies who are big in size might naturally face difficulties in trying to walk or crawl simply because of their weight. Babies who have big heads in comparison to their bodies also display a delayed response in gross motor skills.
Babies who are born prematurely also take a bit longer than others to develop gross motor skills. They usually accomplish their milestones by the age of 2. According to research, many pediatricians say that when observing a premature baby’s motor skill development the counting should start from the date the baby was supposed to be born, not the date he was actually born. For example, if a baby is born 3 months before due then it should be anticipated that the baby’s motor skill development may be delayed by 3 months.
Ways to Administer Help
If you notice that your child is a bit behind schedule in displaying walking or talking abilities then do not be alarmed as there are plenty of things you can do to help the child attain his progress. First of all, you need to let your baby know that you will always be there for help. Especially if the kid is extremely careful about how he goes about doing his thing. Offer him your hand and encourage him to hold on and to stay close by when attempting to walk.
Praise him for a job well done. If your baby tries hard to do something, praise him and keep on encouraging him to do more. Form a routine with your child, play with him more and scatter his favorite play toys around so that he manages to crawl and get them if he wants to play with them. Also make sure to feed your baby on time so that he starts to develop his gross motor skills along with muscles in his tiny arms and legs.
It is also important to provide your child with an energizing and invigorating environment in the house. Make sure that everything is safe when playing with your baby. Childproofing the areas where a baby can easily move around and grab stuff randomly without the risk of getting hurt does wonders for developing gross motor skills.
You don’t need to waste money on expensive baby play toys, first just observe your kid when he’s playing with regular stuff around the house such as an empty box, wooden spoons and etc.
Delay in Milestone
There is no need to panic if you see that your child has mastered one milestone but has not yet shown signs of accomplishing another. This probably means that he is a late bloomer; developing gross motor skills is a gradual process. Many babies even directly start walking before even attempting to crawl.
Usually kids who display signs of delayed development physically also show various problems that they go through in controlling their body. 3-month olds show improper control of the head, weak posture of the body, limping, rigid limbs, bending the back and using only one side to crawl. Apart from these physical symptoms of poor gross motor skills you must also observe your child’s behavior, observe whether or not he smiles, or displays irritation to something or throws tantrums quite often. Other symptoms include feeding difficulties by the age of 3 months. By 6 months of age a child may also develop problems including gagging, spitting food out and choking.
5 Early Warnings that Your Child May Experience Problems in Developing Gross Motor Skills
Thus far it is clear that babies have their own rate of development both physically and mentally. While some babies are faster at developing their gross motor skills, others tend to be a bit late. However with this being said it will still be a good idea if you get an appointment with your pediatrician if you observe the following delays in motor skill development in your infant:
1- Your Baby has very little Muscles in his Limbs
Many babies develop what is known as hypotonia at the ages of 6 months. Hypotonia is a clinical condition in which a baby very slowly develops the muscles around his limbs and neck. Hypotonia is sometimes harmless and can be dealt with by administering proper care but other times this condition can lead to serious health difficulties such as muscular dystrophy. Babies who have hypotonia will always tend to be soft and mushy as compared to the babies who are stiff and firm, this is due to the fact that the baby has very little muscles surrounding his limbs. Due to hypotonia babies may face difficulties like crawling, walking and running, which in turn would lead to poor development of gross motor skills in their tiny bodies. The best way to prevent this from happening is keeping the baby well nourished and physically fit.
2. The Baby is Rigid
Symptoms that are on an opposite extreme to that of hypotonia are also signs of delayed gross motor skills. Some babies feel unusually stiff and rigid when you touch them; the reason for this is another condition which babies tend to suffer from, called hypertonia. When your baby’s muscles begin to shrink, it is an indication of hypertonia. Sometimes hypertonia is harmless and can be overcome by proper physical conditioning of the baby but other times it is considered to be a symptom leading to a disease called ‘Spastic Cerebral Palsy’ which causes serious delays in motor skills development in the baby.
3. Your Baby is taking far Longer to Walk than usual.
Though parents should be fairly concerned when they see that their baby is not walking when he should be, it is still no cause for panic. Babies have their own development process and take their time to do things. Some excel at this while others just slowly and gradually begin to stand up and walk. There are many healthy babies who begin to walk when they are 18 months old. However it is still better to be safe than sorry, so schedule an appointment with your pediatrician every now and then.
4. Half of your Baby’s Body is Strongly Favored than the Other Half
It is normal for babies to favor their right hands and not their left. This normally begins to happen after your baby’s first and or second birthday. You may have noticed why many people are right handed and some are left handed. This tendency is formed at the very early stages of infancy when the child is just a couple of years old. However if you notice that your baby is favoring one part of his body over the other from a very early age, before he is even 1, then your baby may have condition known as hemiplegia. Hemiplegia causes considerable gross motor skills weaknesses in the body’s one half.
5. Your Baby is losing his skills
If you notice that your baby is not doing as much crawling, sitting, waking or smiling as he used to some time ago then it is probably best that you get him evaluated by a pediatrician as soon as possible. These signs may mean that your baby is progressing very poorly in terms of his gross motor skills development and could be susceptible to fatal diseases such a brain tumors and cancers. These diseases can harm the developmental process of the infant considerably, leaving him helpless when he starts to grow.
It is crucial that you take your baby for monthly check ups to an expert pediatrician who can evaluate whether or not your baby is developing gross motor skills. You need to be very careful when monitoring your baby and have to be mindful of any early symptoms pertaining to his motor development.
Cognitive Assessment and Tests
There are so many geniuses out there waiting to get the chance they deserve to show the world their actual potential and ability to generate the right amount of reasoning for a challenging situation and producing a solution within a deadline. It’s all about cognitive functioning. No matter how much or how great the knowledge of a scholar might be, devoid of cognitive analysis there is no success. So, it is established that cognitive function is a mandatory skill that binds a genius to his wits. There are several ways to test that power and the most effective among that is CogAT.
How to assess yourself
To find your Cognitive assessment it is important to view its tests for better understanding. The test such as CogAT makes use of the person’s mental abilities under several platforms such as word relation and vocabulary, power of observation and mathematical challenges. Through these various sections, a detailed picture can be drawn of the cognitive assessment of the person collectively. Whether the situation involves establishing brain relation of patients suffering from brain diseases such as Parkinson’s or dementia or examining the academic potential of various students that have promising prospects, both of these situations can call forth the use of cognitive assessment.
IQ test and Cognitive assessment
Compared to the IQ test, generally as we know it, cognitive assessment is a lot different and broad as it involves the periodic learning and feeding information process that makes it quite the different platform from the IQ test. Secondly, IQ test aims to assess the ability of a person in achieving an expected score that he might be capable of, while cognitive assessment and tests shows the individual’s ability to present an analytical decision based on a provided situation that cannot be accomplished without the right amount of potential in that individual. This is the main idea of cognitive assessment, showing criteria in the evaluation.
The rising importance and applications of cognitive assessment
Cognitive assessment is however the main tool in the CogAT test and like many other tests, CogAT also involves the thorough appraisal of one’s ability in a particular area to make sure the individual excels through his expertise. Cognitive assessment is the instrument for finding problems and providing its solutions. Without this tactical advantage, the human race cannot understand other creatures such as animals or other beasts. Even monkeys exhibit some amount of intelligence that we are able to comprehend, but without cognitive assessment that intelligence will find no meaning to us. Several tests that are practiced on our closest biological relatives, the chimpanzees, also include picture analysis and verbal commands, same as CogAT. It establishes the fact that understanding the intellect of any intelligent life form is achievable through cognitive assessment.
Cognitive assessment always helps
Ranging from basic mental exercises to deep reasoning and solution finding, cognitive assessments are used as a litmus test with a high success rate. There is never a challenging mind that can’t be opened with the help of cognitive assessment and tests
The Cognitive Abilities Test also known as CogAT is a standard test of reasoning that is conducted for school children from their pre-school playgroup to 12th grade. Originally developed by David Logan and Elizabeth Hagen, this test unlike your maths and spelling test is a reasoning test that gauges the reasoning and problem solving abilities of children.
The CogAT is divided into three main sections called batteries i.e. verbal battery, quantitative battery and non-verbal battery. The non-verbal battery in CogAT is generally considered by many as the most difficult out of all the three batteries and is generally not considered in formal schooling. The non-verbal battery in CogAT does not contain any type of verbal test or reading exercise. It generally contains a set of 15 to 25 novel questions that measures a student’s reasoning skills based on geometric figures and shapes. This section of CogAT is very useful for dyslexia students or children who are not much exposed to English language, numbers, reading and writing.
The non-verbal battery of CogAT is further divided into 3 main parts i.e. figure classification, figure analogies and figure analysis. Under figure classification, the students are tested to check if they can classify and categorize figures. This test typically contains three or four figures that will have some common factor. Students will also be given a choice of three or four answers. A student will typically have to look at the figures, understand the common factor between them and decide the right answer from the choices given. For example four circles filled with different colors are given. The choice of answers might be green circles, red circles, coloured circles and yellow circles. In this case the answer is coloured circles since all figures are circles and filled with different colors.
The second category under non-verbal battery of Cogat is figure analogies. Under this section, students will be given two figures with one figure having certain uniqueness. A student has to understand the first figure and apply the same reasoning with the second figure by choosing the right answer. Sometimes three figures are given, when one pair having some relation between them. A student has to recognize the relation between the first two figures and apply the same for the third figure, by choosing the best answer among the choices given. For example there is big circle with a small circle inside it and another big square is given. A set of choices will contain a small circle, small square, small triangle. The correct answer in this case is small square. This is because a big circle contains a small circle and hence a big square will also contain a small square.
The third category under non-verbal battery of CogAT is figure analysis. Figure analysis evaluates the spatial awareness and figure and diagram analysis of students. One of the very popular examples in this case is of a folded paper. Students would be shown to fold a dark square piece of paper at the centre from the top to the bottom. A hole will be punched on the bottom right hand corner. Students will be asked on how the paper will look when it is unfolded. They would have to tell from the choice of answer of where the hole would be i.e. one hole each at top and bottom right hand corner, only one hole at right hand corner or one hole at right hand corner with one hole at left hand. The correct answer in this case is one hole each at top and bottom right hand corner.
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