Infants’ developing motor skills—including mastery of new postures such as sitting and standing—affect opportunities for learning that facilitate cognitive development. But how infant posture affects caregiver behavior is largely unexplored. Moreover, we know little about effects of posture on learning opportunities in infants with motor delay. This study asked how infants with typical development and infants with significant motor delay use various postures during play, and whether posture is related in real time to caregiver-provided cognitive learning opportunities. Infants were videotaped five times over the course of a year in a free play session with a caregiver, starting when they demonstrated initial sitting skills. Posture and cognitive opportunities were coded moment-by-moment to assess duration and temporal overlap. We found that infants with typical development and infants with motor delay displayed similar use of postures initially, but infants with typical development demonstrated more mature postures over time. We also found that for both groups of infants, caregivers were most likely to provide cognitive opportunities when infants were sitting independently, and least likely when infants were supine. Our findings highlight the importance of upright sitting in typical and atypical infant development and suggest potential areas of intervention for infants with motor delay.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Developmental Neuroscience
- Developmental Biology
- Behavioral Neuroscience