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Spatial Cognition in Infants with Myelomeningocele: Transition from Immobility to Mobility

  • Author(s): Rivera, Monica Jean;
  • Advisor(s): Radtka, Sandra;
  • et al.

Previous studies with typically developing (TD) infants have shown that the onset of mobility facilitates advancement in specific spatial cognitive skills. The purpose of this investigation was to document spatial cognition in TD infants and infants with Myelomeningocele (MMC), to determine the role of mobility experience in spatial cognitive development. A longitudinal study investigated changes in spatial cognitive performance in five infants with MMC as they progressed from immobility to mobility. Thirty TD eight to nine-month-old infants formed two equal crawling and non-crawling groups for comparison. The hypothesis was that significant differences would be seen in (1) visual control of posture (2) shape perception and (3) joint visual attention in both TD and MMC studies after the onset of mobility. The results showed the crawling TD group had significantly higher performance on all three spatial cognitive tasks compared to the non-crawling TD group. The MMC infants showed improvements on all three tasks after they transitioned to independent mobility, however, only the changes on the shape perception task were statistically significant. These results confirm previous TD studies and highlight the importance of mobility experience in spatial cognitive development. Furthermore, the results highlight the increased risk of spatial cognitive delay faced by the MMC infants because of their delayed onset of independent mobility.

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