Alicia manages to roll from her back to her stomach quite successfully most of the time.  But sometimes she finds herself rolling onto her side and not quite able to make it all the way onto her stomach.  She sees a toy, wants to grab it, rolls onto her side, and then flops back onto her back.  As I closely observe these moments I notice that when she takes her right leg and arm toward the left, she rolls onto her left side, and then she takes her right arm backward.  When she takes her arm backward it stops her from continuing to roll forward onto her stomach!  She is stuck on her side!  There is the rattle in front of her and she can not reach it because her arm is now moving away from it and preventing her from shifting her weight forward enough that she continues onto her stomach.  Her arm is not cooperating with rest of her body in this movement of rolling.


While lying on her back, Alea started playing with her foot.  She reached both of her hands and grabbed her right foot.  She smiled proudly.  “I’m very impressed!  Look at how well you can hold your foot,” I told her.  Knowing that the contact of the hand to the foot is a very important developmental connection, I wanted to use it in some baby play with Alicia.  I took my hands and held her hand to her foot while rolling to the right and left.  I thought she might enjoy the feeling of the movement.  I also knew that her spine is more rounded and rolls more easily while holding her foot.  This movement also teaches her brain to take the arm with her as she rolls to the side. She clearly enjoyed the feeling.  We switched her legs so next she held her left foot with both hands while rolling side to side.  After a few minutes of this game I let her have a rest.  Soon she spotted her favorite rattle on the floor next to her and took her right arm and leg across her center and rolled successfully onto her stomach while grabbing the rattle with the right arm.  Her brain learned to take the arm with her in the gross motor skill of rolling!


Just to make sure it was not a coincidence, I put her on her back again with the rattle to her side.  She rolled perfectly onto her stomach while grabbing the rattle again with her right hand.  Playfully rolling Alicia from side to side while her hands were holding her foot taught her brain to take her arm with her when she rolls.  We repeated the motor skill of rolling a few times while her proud grandparents smiled at the success she was now experiencing.  They observed, “She is now so pleased with herself.  Look at her smile!”  And, smiling she was as she listened to the bell while playing with her toy.

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