Crawling in the News

August 26, 2009 at 1:49 am Leave a comment

Grady and Benji 006Did you crawl as a baby?  

In a June Scientific American article, David Tracer, an anthropologist from University of Colorado, is reported to be questioning whether crawling is necessary for normal human development. Many indigenous cultures carried their babies on their backs, perhaps for hygienic reasons. They benefitted from being close to their mother’s bodies and from having that rhythmical sway. Children from Paraguay, Indonesia and Mali are not culturally encouraged to crawl, but seem to turn out OK. 

I have baby pictures of myself spending a lot of infant time in a playpen.  According to my parents, I did not crawl.  As a child, I was not athletic and had hand-eye coordination problems.  In college, I studied the theories of Glenn Doman and Carl Delacato, who advocate the importance of motor crawling in infants and for adults who have missed this developmental step, which promotes right brain development and eye convergence. Later, I was taught how to crawl as an adult, in a movement class with Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen, a somatic educator who founded the school of Body-mind Centering.  I personally benefitted from motor re-patterning. Learning to alternate my left-right, arm-leg movements helped my gait become smoother and improved my balance.

As a movement educator, I have seen that crawling is developmentally important for infants and for children with learning disabilities. I have encouraged hundreds of infants to crawl with hours spent doing tummy time.  See my earlier post on this blog, entitled Born to Move.

The bottom line here may be that babies need to be physically close to their mother or father, to be carried or worn on the back, and to have the opportunities for movement exploration that crawling affords.


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