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Infant Toddler Development Training
Module 4, Lesson 3

Culturally Sensitive Environments and Gross Motor Risk-Taking

It is important for practitioners to understand parents' expectations for their children and the caregiving traditions of their family and culture. If families' views of development and caregiving practices differ from those who are providing intervention services, it is likely that the families will not be fully invested in the intervention program. Professionals may be challenged when their professional recommendations are in conflict with the family's values or practices. For example, an early interventionist may believe that an infant who has a physical disability needs opportunities to move and explore in proximity with family members.

Based on parent values or expectations for children, parents may engage in caregiving behaviors that: (a) encourage infants to learn and practice specific body movements and postures, (b) emphasize the attainment of certain milestones over others, or (c) optimize the comfort level of children (e.g., minimizing crying).

Parents and other providers also need to consider child variables that can have an impact on motor development, such as: (a) temperament, (b) attachment, (c) motivation, and (d) presence of developmental, musculoskeletal, or neurological disorders.

Another critical consideration for practice is that the physical environment in which the child lives can enhance or inhibit aspects of motor development. Therefore, by evaluating the features of the child's environment as well as child variables, valuable information may be gained to determine intervention goals and strategies that will likely assist the child in gaining important motor skills.

Mother and child swimmingAdult roles in motor stimulation:

  • Facilitate movement
  • Address all motor components
  • Use natural contexts
  • Adapt as needed
  • Promote generalization
  • Promote independent mobility
  • Promote appropriate social & instructional interactions
  • Frequently change children's position

Read Technical Report #1 Culturally and Linguistically Sensitive Practices in Motor Skills Intervention for Young Children You may find it helpful to use the article's Table of Contents which follows to guide your reading. Pay close attention to Table 2.

Table of Contents

  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Factors that Influence Motor Development in Young Children
  • Child Factors
    • Temperament
    • Attachment
    • Motivation
    • Presence of Disability
  • Caregiving Factors
    • Physical Features or Settings
  • Quality Practice Indicators
    • Table 1: List of Current Quality Practice Indicators
  • Support for Indicators in Research and Practice
    • Core Assumptions
    • Theory
    • Motor Intervention Training
    • Teaming
  • Professional Roles
    • Address All Components
    • Promote Independent Mobility
    • Promote Appropriate Social and Instructional Interactions
    • Table 2: Current Quality Practice Indicators and Suggested Revisions
  • Cultural Appropriateness of Indicators
  • Conclusion
  • References
  • Annotated Bibliographies
  • Resources


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