Characterization and intervention for upper extremity exploration & reaching behaviors in infancy

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This article aims to: 1) highlight general exploration, reaching, and object exploration behaviors as key activities of daily living in infancy, 2) describe how knowledge of early warning signs for these behaviors may improve early assessment, and 3) discuss interventions that may advance performance of these behaviors. Early intervention should focus on improving performance of these behaviors because: a) these early, interrelated upper extremity behaviors serve an integral role in global learning and development in infancy, b) among at-risk populations, differences have been observed in the quantity and quality of performance of these behaviors and, in many cases, these differences are associated with related perceptual-motor and cognitive delays. This article highlights how early assessment and intervention can target these key early behaviors in populations at risk for upper extremity disabilities, such as those born preterm, with Down syndrome, brachial plexus palsy, or arthrogryposis multiplex congentia.

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