The Infant Space Theory describes four primary aspects of how infants develop interactions with objects and space in their home environment. The first aspect is through gaze and visual play. Between 2 to 6 months, the emergence of gaze path, gaze search, and gaze alignment allows infants to use gaze path to search, scan for their mother and objects, and to align and direct gaze. They explore out-of-reach objects like moving contrasts and aircrafts, through vision. When they grow older, infants play with vision-obscured play, and use their eyes and hand together, initially learn to grasp by gazing at their hands and then the objects of interest. The second aspect is mapping and ranging of the home landscape. They appeared to recognize activity sites like the changing table, then develop to recognize specific aspects of a room’s layout, and later show awareness of larger home space. Afterward the infants use space in home by proning, shifting circles, edge crawling, roll travel, edge cruising, roaming, and targeted travel. Once they can walk, their space use patterns are no longer limited and they are able to explore around home. The third aspect is stationary object play. Infants contact with textures, combine surface and single objects, then develop to free object play with hands and mouth, later they play with multiple objects. The last aspect is mobile object play. Once the infants gain mobility, surface play with jumping, dancing, and climbing, emerges. Then mobile play combines with surface and single objects including propelling and driving. Propelling is the infant’s effort to drop or other ways to launch objects through space. Driving is that the infant pushes, pulls, and rides objects in home. The infants develop their motor abilities by active searching for challenge in their surrounding environments, and the interactions facilitate visual, spatial, and object play developments. The model also describes concrete developmental milestones, needs of child, to facilitate therapists in understanding the infants’ development. Therapists utilize naturalistic early intervention, and enhance family-focused and flexible interventions to facilitate development of children.
- Macey Cho
- Developmental disability
Domain of occupation
With equipped knowledge of occupational development in home, therapists can facilitate natural play opportunities of the infant with family on a daily basis.
Pierce, D., Munier, V., & Myers, C. T. (2009). Informing early intervention through an occupational science description of infant-toddler interactions with home space. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 63, 273-287.
- Doris Pierce
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