Background: In children, reaching emerges around four months of age, which is followed by rapid changes in hand function and concomitant changes in gross motor function, including the acquisition of independent sitting. Although there is a close functional relationship between these domains, to date they have been investigated separately. Objective: To investigate the longitudinal profile of changes and the relationship between the development of hand function (i.e. reaching for and manipulating an object) and gross motor function in 13 normally developing children born at term who were evaluated every 15 days from 4 to 8 months of age. Method: The number of reaches and the period (i.e. time) of manipulation to an object were extracted from video synchronized with the Qualisys® movement analysis system. Gross motor function was measured using the Alberta Infant Motor Scale. ANOVA for repeated measures was used to test the effect of age on the number of reaches, the time of manipulation and gross motor function. Hierarchical regression models were used to test the associations of reaching and manipulation with gross motor function. Results: Results revealed a significant increase in the number of reaches (p<0.001), the time of manipulation (p<0.001) and gross motor function (p<0.001) over time, as well as associations between reaching and gross motor function (R2=0.84; p<0.001) and manipulation and gross motor function (R2=0.13; p=0.02) from 4 to 6 months of age. Associations from 6 to 8 months of age were not significant. Conclusion: The relationship between hand function and gross motor function was not constant, and the age span from 4 to 6 months was a critical period of interdependency of hand function and gross motor function development.
Nogueira, S. F., Figueiredo, E. M., Gonçalves, R. V., & Mancini, M. C. (2015). Relation between hand function and gross motor function in full term infants aged 4 to 8 months. Brazilian Journal of Physical Therapy, 19(1), 52–60. https://doi.org/10.1590/bjpt-rbf.2014.0070