Background: In typical development, postural adjustments during reaching change in the second half of infancy, including increasing rates of direction-specific adjustments. These changes are absent or different in infants at risk of cerebral palsy (CP). To discover whether these changes are related to acquisition of independent walking, we studied postural adjustments during reaching in infants before and after they learned to walk.
Methods: Ten typically developing (TD) infants and 11 infants at very high risk (VHR) of CP were assessed before and after they learned to walk. Reaching movements were elicited during supported sitting, while surface electromyography was recorded of arm, neck, and trunk muscles. Percentages of direction-specific adjustments (first level of control), and recruitment patterns and anticipatory activation (second level of control) were calculated.
Results: In both groups, postural adjustments during reaching were similar before and after acquisition of independent walking. Direction-specificity increased with age in typically developing infants but not in VHR-infants.
Conclusion: Increasing age rather than the transition to independent walking is associated with increasing direction-specificity of TD-infants during reaching while sitting, while infants at very high risk of CP show no increase in direction-specificity, suggesting that they gradually grow into a postural deficit.
|Tijdschrift||Infant Behavior & Development|
|Status||Published - feb.-2018|