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Research Article  |   August 1990
Environmental Support and the Development of Grasp in Infants
Author Affiliations
  • Amy Hirschel, MS, OTR/L, is an Occupational Therapist, Area Cooperative Educational Services, Hamden, Connecticut, and a Lecturer, Quinnipiac College, Hamden, Connecticut. At the time of this study, she was a graduate student in occupational therapy at Sargent College of Allied Health Professions, Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts. (Mailing address: 60 Manor Street, Hamden, Connecticut 06517)
  • Charlane Pehoski, MS, OTR/L, RPT, is Director of Occupational Therapy, Shriver Center University Affiliated Facility, Waltham, Massachusetts, and Adjunct Assistant Professor, Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts
  • Jane Coryell, PhD, PT, is retired. At the time of this study, she was Associate Professor, Department of Physical Therapy, Sargent College of Allied Health Professions, Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts
Article Information
Research
Research Article   |   August 1990
Environmental Support and the Development of Grasp in Infants
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, August 1990, Vol. 44, 721-727. doi:10.5014/ajot.44.8.721
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, August 1990, Vol. 44, 721-727. doi:10.5014/ajot.44.8.721
Abstract

This study examines the acquisition of internal stability as it relates to the development of prehension in normal infants. Thirty-two subjects, 7 to 14 months of age, were observed grasping Cheerios from styrene surfaces that provided different amounts of support to the infants’ hands. The subjects were scored on the grasp patterns they used and on their success in securing a Cheerio without dislodging the styrene surface from a platform. Success increased with age, thus demonstrating a developmental progression in the acquisition of upper extremity internal stability. Consistency of grasp also increased with age. Whereas the youngest infants (7 to 8 months old) reverted to immature grasp patterns on the less stable surfaces, the oldest infants (13 to 14 months old) used mature pincer grasp patterns consistently. Infants 10 to 11 months old seemed to be in a transitional stage between the variability of grasp seen in the youngest infants and the consistency achieved by the oldest group.