Using The Bayley Scale Of Infant Development

Bayley Scales of Infant Development

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The Bayley Scale of Infant Development has long been considered an excellent tool for evaluating the development of young children. This is a standard way of assessing the cognitive and motor development for children from 1 month old until they are 3 years 6 months.

What Does This Test Measure?

Unfortunately this test does not measure future ability. So, professionals using this test will not be able to tell you whether or not you have a future creative genius in your arms. But they will be able to let you know how your child is doing compared to the norm at the time of the test.

The revised version, known as BSID II, has expanded in content on the earlier scale and is said to have enhanced clinical validity. In other words, it is better than before at doing what it is supposed to do. It has been updated in order to better reflect current norms and helps clinicians with diagnostic assessment at an early stage so that if intervention is needed it can be done at the earliest possible time.

How Accurate Are The Bayley Scale of Infant Development?

The Bayley Scale of Infant Development is based upon research into 1,700 children tested at intervals of either one or three months. From one month old until they reached 42 months.

One of the big advantages of this test is that it allows for such variables as age, sex, region, race and ethnicity, and parental education - at least to some extent.

Why I say it 'to some extent' is that although I am a professional therapist, I am also a mother. I know that one of my children often failed to co-operate with any such test, not from any lack of ability, mental or otherwise. Fortunately the doctor concerned was lenient to him and would watch him playing happily and chatting away before he reached his office.

I have since realized what the problem was - white coats.  He received a lot of medical attention and was poked and prodded quite a lot in his early days - always by people wearing white coats. My youngest sister had behaved in exactly the same way and for the same reason but I somehow forgot about that.

How Does The Bayley Scale Work?

Bayley Scale of infant development measure many different things, but these are divided principally into three areas:

  • behavior

  • mental and

  • motor scale i.e. how a baby behaves, thinks, and moves.

Behavior Scale is used in conjunction with the other two scale and measures the child's attention span and arousal, his engagement with what is going on and so on.

Mental Scale will test your child's sensory and perceptual skills. It looks at such things as how they discriminate between objects and their response to various things, their memory, learning, and problem solving abilities as well as language skills from early noises made onwards. Even how a baby can think about abstract things and how they have acquired early mathematical concepts can be measured.

Motor Scale assesses skills of body control, whether large muscle coordination or the finer skills of the hands and fingers, how practical a baby is and how he interacts physically with the world around him.

The Bayley Scale of infant development also takes account of special circumstances, for instance whether a child was premature, has Down's syndrome or has a mother who was taking drugs during pregnancy.

The Best Practical Approach For Your Child

Taking your child along for any kind of test can be a little stressful, especially if you suspect that there is a problem of some kind. All the technical jargon can seem very daunting and frightening.

Here I have tried to use language that is easier to understand by parents. But if there is something that you don't understand or which is worrying you please ask someone and they will, I am sure, be able to tell you why they are doing a particular activity with your child and how he is doing.

Some professionals use other, less daunting tests as mentioned here to accomplish the same results. If you're unsure ask. And don't be distracted if you have real concerns. Just because you haven't got the right set of letters after your name doesn't make your observations invalid.

In fact, my own experience shows that most parents have a much better "intuition" about their child than they appreciate themselves.

I once saw a specialist write 'Mother says!!!' when I said my daughter was walking and talking, because she hadn't done so in her office and wasn't interested in looking at the set of cards offered. As we were going out I put my daughter down. She walked out of the office and down the corridor before turning round and saying clearly 'Goodbye.' The doctor came after us apologetically.

There are plenty of professionals out there who will give you sensible practical advice. One option many parents prefer to follow nowadays is to first understand the advice offered in many high quality reference books.

Although this information will never make you a specialist in the Bayley Scale of infant development or any other test, they do give you more than adequate information to recognize specific patterns or behaviors to follow up with your preferred professional.

The biggest advantage of this approach is to increase your confidence, knowledge and general observation.

bayley scale of infant development >> infant development