Friday, September 23, 2011

Infant Brain Development

Ever wonder how the brain develops? This past week I had the opportunity to go to a class on infant brain development. My friend Jessica's Mom teaches the class at the hospital she works for. Sean's mom and sister came with me, which made the class more fun. It was a 4 hour course filled with information! I can't even put all that I learned or else this blog would be entirely too long. Elizabeth won a book in raffle and gave it to me. It's called Bright from the Start by Jill Stamm, PH.D. It has a lot in it that was discussed in the class. I shall now write the things that stood out to me most in the class.

Did you Know?
  • By the end of the third year of life a child's brain is almost 90% of its adult size. 
  • Infant and toddler learning involves the formation of brain structures that "grow themselves" through use.
  • As parents and care givers to infants we can influence the way a his/her brain grows
  • The earlier a system in the brain wires up the more resistant it is to change. 
  • Attentive care allws the brain to develop in a healthy way
  • Bonding and attachment behaviors develop a sense of security for the infant and are important for healthy brain functioning.
  • Play is how children learn. "babies are just scientist in a crib" they explore the phsical world and test their limits and capabilities. 
  • This one is a direct quote so as to get the information just right " New research shows that the sheer number (and variety) of words routinely spoken to a child in his environment has a direct influence on his performance on traditional IQ tests!New research also examines the positive effects on mood from listening to or singing music." The research said that it is best to speak about 30,000 words to your child everyday! That sounds like a lot but its just reading Cat in the Hat 18 times. 
  • Music improves some types of memory. 
  • Music activates both sides of the brain and aids in reasoning and relieves stress. 
Another thing that was talked about was the baby talk vs parentese. Baby talk is using made up words like "goo goo ga ga do da da". Parentese is real words but elongated to keep the baby's attention like "Looook at the baaby" Research has shown that using baby talk causes speech impediments.

So that is the gist of what I learned. Pretty cool huh?

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