Development of postural control in typically developing children and children with cerebral palsy: possibilities for intervention?

Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2007;31(8):1191-200. doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2007.04.008. Epub 2007 May 5.


The basic level of postural control is functionally active from early infancy onwards: young infants possess a repertoire of direction-specific postural adjustments. Whether or not direction-specific adjustments are used depends on the child's age and the nature of the postural task. The second level of control emerges after 3 months: children start to develop the capacity to adapt postural activity to environmental constraints. But the adult form of postural adaptation first emerges after adolescence. Children with cerebral palsy (CP) in general have the ability to generate direction-specific adjustments, but they show a delayed development in the capacity to recruit direction-specific adjustments in tasks with a mild postural challenge. Children with CP virtually always have difficulties in the adaptation of direction-specific activity. The limited data available on the effect of intervention on postural development suggest that intervention involving active trial and error experience may accelerate postural development in typically developing infants and may improve postural control in children with or at high risk for a developmental motor disorder.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cerebral Palsy / physiopathology*
  • Child
  • Child Development*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Movement Disorders / etiology*
  • Posture / physiology*