Growth and Development: Proximodistal: Central Parts of the Body to Peripheral Parts Referred

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What is Development?


Proximodistal Development

Proximodistal Development

  • Development also proceeds from central parts of the body to peripheral parts referred to as near to far sequence. This is called Proximodistal (Latin, “near to far”) principle of development. In a foetus, the head and trunk region gets well developed before the rudimentary limb buds appear. Gradually, the arm buds develop into hands and fingers. That is the reason why children master using their arms before their hands. They develop control over their fingers much later.

  • There is a predictable pattern of development for different cognitive functions. Initially, children’s thinking is built on concrete objects in their environment and later they can think in terms of abstract ideas as well. Therefore, young children need concrete objects and pictures to manipulate. They learn by doing and engaging in a variety of activities. Later, children develop concepts in abstract terms also. Likewise, other domains of development also follow a sequential pattern. Here it is important to bring attention to the fact that although ordinarily the sequence is common to all children, certain aspects of development may remain affected in some children due to a variety of reasons.

  • Development is a product of maturation and learning. They learn through imitation and trial and error. Learning brings change in behavior due to environmental learning which includes effort and exercise. Maturation and learning are closely related, one influences the other. Children develop as per their internal genetic timetable as well as external environmental inputs. Thus, development is the product of maturation and learning.

  • There are individual differences in development At each stage of development, one can expect certain competencies to appear in every domain of development. These are called developmental milestones. Milestones of development present the age ranges during which the majority of children accomplish age specific skills.

  • It is important to note that there are individual differences in development. No two children are alike. Each child is unique. One child may start speaking early and the other might take more time to speak. The range of variability depends on many factors like heredity and environment.

  • Each child has different experiences that interact with the unique hereditary pattern. Although the sequence of development is fairly uniform, predetermined and common to all children, the rate and pace of development may vary from child to child. Developmental differences are routine among children unless a child deviates drastically from the normal developmental pattern.

  • The child develops as a unified whole. Different domains of development are interrelated and therefore the child develops as a unified whole. Each domain of development affects the other and is, in turn, affected by the others. Any problem in one aspect of development is likely to affect others. For example, a child who may be either chronically ill or may have delayed physical-motor development, may not be able to participate subsequently in physical activities with other children.

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