Development of Postural Equilibrium During Sitting and Standing

  • Marjorie Hines Woollacott
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (ASID, volume 56)


The behavioral and neuromuscular characteristics associated with the development of balance adjustments in children show a number of interesting characteristics. The visual, somato-sensory and vestibular inputs contributing to balance adjustments are capable of eliciting postural responses early in development with visual stimuli eliciting compensatory responses in infants as young as 3 days of age. Studies on neuromuscular responses underlying balance suggest that there is a cephalocaudal gradient in the development of postural response organization within the first 14 months of development. Appropriate temporal organization of muscle response synergies appears to develop through experience in each new level of postural skill development. Standing children are capable of adapting postural responses to changing sensory conditions at about 4–6 years of age. Theoretical studies also predict that children first learning to stand will reduce degrees of freedom of body movement to one, consisting of movements about the ankle joint, in order to simplify the task of postural control.


Optical Flow Tibialis Anterior Postural Response Muscle Response Vestibular Input 
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© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1990

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  • Marjorie Hines Woollacott

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