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Course Outline

Infant Motor Development


The goal of this course is to give you a detailed understanding of how babies develop their motor skills. In the first year of life, babies experience an extensive amount of gross motor development as they move from being a tiny newborn to a toddler capable of exploring their environment. 

With so much to learn in the first year, a baby’s development can become abnormal or delayed quite quickly. The goal of this course is to give a strong foundation of infant development including the motor milestones, principles of motor development and reflexes. You will also learn to recognize signs of atypical development so that it can be detected as early as possible to help support these families. 

For all infant development concerns, we know early intervention is key in treatment. This course will review strategies to perform successful infant assessments and create effective home exercise programs. You will also learn to confidently educate families to gain buy-in for their treatment  and promote gross motor development as part of their day-to-day routine. If infants begin to move well from the beginning, this will set them up for success for the rest of their development and this course will empower you to support families with infants in your community!


Part A: Infant Motor Milestones

  • Review of typical motor milestones for following age ranges
    • Newborn
    • 2 months
    • 3-4 months
    • 4-6 months
    • 6-10 months
    • 9-12+ months

Part B: Principles of Infant Motor Development

  • Review of the six principles of motor development
    • Cephalic to caudal
    • Flexion before extension
    • Proximal to distal
    • General to specific
    • Bilateral to unilateral
    • Gradation of control
  • Examples of these principles and their role in motor development

Part C: Infant Reflexes

  • 3 types of reflexes
    • Infantile reflexes
    • Postural reflexes
    • Locomotor reflexes
  • Role of reflexes in infant physio
    • Neurological screening
    • Intervention strategies using reflexes
    • Reflex integration

Part D: Atypical Development

  • Abnormal patterns during spontaneous movements
  • Brachial plexus injuries
  • Torticollis
  • Head shape deformities
  • Gross motor delays
  • Movement variations

Part E: Infant Development Assessment

  • Tips for successful infant sessions
  • Subjective assessment
  • Objective assessment
  • Alberta Infant Motor Scale
  • Mini-motor milestones
  • Symmetry
  • Quality
  • Tone
  • Spasticity

Part F: Promoting Motor Development in Infants

  • Motor planning
  • Unrestricted play
    • Safe play zones
  • Container baby syndrome
  • Tummy time
  • Effects of environment
  • Therapeutic play strategies