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Patterns of Motor Development
Pattern
Description
Cephalocaudal
Development progresses from head to toe, so
the first volitional muscle control involves the
head and neck and progresses downward
Proximal-distal
Pattern of development from the trunk outward
to the extremities, thus sitting precedes throwing
a ball
Gross to fine
motor
Pattern of large muscle control preceding small
muscle control, so children can throw and catch
a big ball before they can draw a picture
Mass to specific
Gradually developing ability to isolate muscles
for movement. Initially, when a child rolls over
she does so as a single unit, but soon gains
adequate control over specific parts of her body
so that the roll becomes more controlled,
occurring in a smooth sequence of head and
shoulders followed by trunk and hips and
completed with the legs