What Is Proximodistal Development?

Proximodistal development is a pattern of growth observed in infants and toddlers in which the regions of the body closest to the trunk gain motor skills before those further away. Simply put, broad motor abilities like waving an arm develop before fine motor skills like writing legibly.

A famous example of proximodistal development is infants learning to manipulate their shoulders before their arms or individual fingers are well-developed. Three-month-old newborns are able to hold things that are handed to them and make fists, but they cannot point at or independently reach for objects. The ability to reach normally develops at six months, whereas the ability to point and grasp small things such as raisins emerges around one year.

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