What Every Parent Ought To Know About Early Childhood Brain Development
Early Childhood Brain Development: What Every Parent Must Know
There's one thing about early childhood brain development that few parents know... that it can be drastically improved and even be increased. Contrary to popular belief, many scientific studies have shown that baby (and older children's) intelligence can be increased through planned and structured stimulation.
My own experience
Although I've always read about these studies and have personally seen vast performance improvements in the children I treat, I've never taken the trouble of getting independent proof that it can be done… until now.
For the past 11.5 months I've seen a little 5 year old boy once (1 hour session) every week. My therapy sessions were mostly restricted to stimulation exercises, games, activities and giving him 'homework' to do during the off time. His mom confirmed that apart from the therapy he had no other change in his day to day activities.
I should also add that just before he came to me, a psychologist tested his IQ. When I started with his sessions I did not know that. During the past 3-4 months I could see that his skills improved noticeably, but I could never really quantify the improvement (nor did I have the intention to do that).
But about 10 days ago, after my 11.5 months therapy sessions, his mom took this boy for another test. This time to a different psychologist. His IQ increased by 15 points!
Now I'm definitely not claiming that the increase was the direct result of my therapy sessions. What I also don't claim is that this is 'irrefutable scientific' proof. But what I am saying is that the improvement can most likely be contributed to a combination of deliberate actions by a number of people.
More Scientific Studies About Early Childhood Brain Development
Another classical early childhood brain development study you may have heard of that confirmed the ability to increase baby intelligence development was undertaken in 1939. The results are rather startling, and just go to prove the idea of increasing baby intelligence through stimulation.
The study was done by Skeels and Dye on 13 infants and young children in an orphanage. These children were between 7 months and 30 months and were transferred from their orphanage to a school for mentally retarded children.
Note that the babies were transferred to only a school for mentally retarded children, not some fancy stimulation facility.
At the school for the mentally retarded, our orphans were placed in a ward with a few older girls, who started playing with them during most of the time they were awake. Just by playing with these babies, the older girls provided many more experiences and much more stimulation than was provided for the children left alone in the orphanage.
All 13 children who were moved to the "stimulation environment" showed gains in IQ ranging from 7 to 58 points. And just to double check their results, Skeels and Dye arranged for the 12 children who stayed behind at the orphanage to also undergo an intelligence test.
And here is the important part…
All the children at the orphanage showed a decrease in IQ ranging from 8 to 45 points!
Twenty-one years later, all the children in both groups were located and the differences in their life situations were once again compared.
Of the 13 who received the stimulation in the school for the mentally retarded, all were self-supporting. On the other hand, of the group that remained in the orphanage, one died in an institution for the retarded, and five were still in institutions..
The differences in education between the two groups were just as staggering.
For the transfer group, the median (midway between highest and lowest) was a 12th grade, or graduation. Four completed one or more years of college, with one boy receiving a bachelor's degree from a large state university.
For the group of 12 who remained at the orphanage, half did not complete the third grade, and none of them went to high school.
Clearly, this study shows the importance to stimulate intellectual development very early, mainly for development of intelligence and for general independent functioning in the world.
Just think what difference could have been made in a really good stimulating environment at home.
OK, let's come back to early childhood brain development and stimulating baby intelligence.
What to do about stimulating early childhood brain development
How do you do it? And where do you start?
A few brain development specialists discovered that there is a direct link between baby mobility and brain development… of course, the better a child's mobility the more brain development takes place.
One of the important findings is that the physical condition of your baby is very important for brain development and formation of learning potential.
Many years ago people believed that developing a child's physical skills primarily stressed muscular development rather than brain development. Through research we now know that your baby's physical development also stimulates brain development.
It has been stated by child researchers that an infant will have a greater brain capacity when his or her physical development is stimulated and encouraged. They furthermore state that because the body and brain work together, a baby who is on a physical stimulation program will have greater brain capacity than one who is not.
So, how can you get the most from early childhood brain development and stimulate your baby's intelligence?
This is not a simple answer and there are many correct ways of doing so.
But one of the very basic, proven ways is to start off by ensuring your baby masters the development milestones on time. Also ensure and track your baby's develop rate against those of standardized age ranges determined by development specialists.
That is also one of the main reasons why I wrote How To Get Your Baby Physically Superb… to share a few tips, ideas and techniques for ensuring this basic baby development. Once you're tracking this regularly, then start with the other ways, like speech and language, social and perceptual stimulation.
Early Childhood Brain Development >> Infant Intellectual Development