Also: Infant Development, Toddler Development
Dr. Katherine Noble, author. This is an article that ran in Serendipity Magazine, Sept / Oct 2012.
From initial vocalization and tiny clenched fists to feeding herself Cheerios, this is an important year of firsts. Dr. Katy Noble demystifies 0-12 months so you know where your child should be.
There is no better word to describe the first year of a human’s life than “Magic!” Whether you’re a parent, about to be one or a relative prepare to be dazzled by this 12-month transformation.
During this time, a vulnerable newborn who can see no farther than her parents’ adoring faces can become a one-year-old bursting with smiles and personality, offering hugs and kisses, speaking her first words and taking her first steps.
In growth alone this year is astounding: an increase of almost five inches in head circumference, a gain of 10 inches in length and a tripling of birth weight is typical. Pediatricians assess development in infants and children in four major spheres: gross motor (movement), fine motor/adaptive (smaller, coordinated movements), language (receiving and expressing verbal information) and social/personal (connecting with others). Child development is a dynamic process with a momentum of its own.
Infant development, specifically, proceeds in an orderly and predictable fashion: from head to toe, proximally to distally (from “in to out”), from general to specific reactions and from complete dependence to emerging independence. Examples: An infant first learns how to hold her head straight, then to roll, sit, pull to a stand and finally to walk. And by the time the infant has the core strength to sit with support (4 months), she has already begun to reach and grab, she will then transfer toys hand to hand (6 months) and will begin to pick up things between her thumb and index finger (early “pincer grasp,” 9-10 months, established by 12 months).
Keep in mind there are variations and ranges of norms. Careful assessment and monitoring of a child’s developmental progress is paramount. Early detection of any delays followed by intervention and support is the foundation and promise of pediatric medicine.