April 3, 2016 Mary & Suzanne

How is sensation linked to developmental skills?

Congratulations!!! You are a parent!  Your bundle of joy has arrived, and you are ready to jump into action! We are pretty sure you have stocked up on books and articles and parenting and baby’s developmental skills, talked to family and friends, and have gotten advice you can categorize as the good, the bad, and the downright ugly. Your quest for being an educated and prepared parent has paid off in feelings of confidence, or maybe it has left your head spinning with so many varying words of wisdom.  Day by day, minute-by-minute, it is totally normal to go through the gamut of emotions. You are human, and being responsible for another human being is a BIG DEAL!

Here’s where we hope to be of service. We want to help organize the way parents about their babies.  Making it easier to recognize and fill the needs of their babies and children will ultimately support these little ones as they reach towards their own optimal development. One of the first things to recognize is that every child is different, and there is a range of what is considered typical when it comes to developmental skills. All of us have our particular limitations and gifts. This is what makes us human and uniquely ourselves. How bland would the world be if we were all cookie cutters of each other?

Our goal with Passport to Baby’s First Year is to help parents think about babies and children constructively, productively and by channeling their inner detective. Behavior that we may not enjoy can be seen as a child’s way of telling us that he or she is experiencing an unpleasant sensory experience, or has a sensory need that is not being met. When we are able to interpret and meet sensory needs, children are comfortable enough to relax and explore the world. Family life becomes easier when parents have sensory tools for helping babies and children become more organized, comfortable and happy.

A baby’s behavior gives us clues about what will help her to gain developmental skills, including the ability to be calm and focused. Watching how a baby is interacting with the world and interpreting these responses allows us to identify and interject activities and strategies that will help that baby reach her optimal level of development in stride. Parents who are aware of their baby’s learning style will be able to recognize when their baby needs more support and what type of support to give. She will have a more complete, solid foundation for learning for the rest of her life.  

As pediatric occupational therapists, we want to share information that helps you to:

  1. Recognize your baby’s sensory and learning style.
  2. Provide support for skill development.
  3. Support baby’s confidence and self-esteem.
  4. Help baby be happy, focused and emotionally stable.
  5. Improve the quality of life for your family

A child’s brain combines and organizes information from each of our senses: vision, touch, hearing, vestibular, proprioception, taste and smell. Each child has a unique way of interacting with the world that is formed by the way her body and mind interprets the sensations she receives.

Combinations of sensory information are used for:

  • Motor coordination
  • Balance and equilibrium
  • Visual coordination and perception
  • Organizing behavior, learning & attention
  • Social interactions with parents & peers

We can fine tune activities for each child that fill their individual sensory needs and give them exactly what they need to support developmental skills and learning.

 There are three types of babies that we often see in our practices.

  1. The Sensitive Baby
  2. The Organized Baby
  3. The Sleepy Baby

Each type of baby has different needs. Throughout our Passport to Baby’s First Year journey we will provide you with information about how to identify which type of baby you have, and sensory strategies to support his or her comfort and development.

Stay tuned, because we will also give you our views on how to handle what parents consider the big three:

Lots to cover! Welcome to parenthood and thanks for joining us as we venture into Passport to Baby’s First Year!

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