Infants grow at a very rapid rate during the first one and a half years of life.
Developing not only physically, but mentally, emotionally, and socially as well,
this development has been evident in providing a strong background for further
development in life. Physical development refers to a babys increasing skill
at utilizing various body parts. During development, there are three basic
developmental rules: Rule one states, that babys develop in the head
region first, followed by the upper body, followed by the trunk portion, and
lastly the legs and feet. For example, a baby can hold up their heads first
before they can grab an object with their hand.
Second rule refers to motor
skills. Motor skills are the childs ability to control movement. The two
basic classifications in motor skills are large motor skills and fine motor
skills. Large motor skills deal with all the large muscles, whereas fine motor
skills deal with smaller muscles in the body. The 3rd developmental rule is
Brain development. As the brain develops a child responds more and more to sight
and sound, which prepares them for further development (www.
At birth an infants vision is limited by the immaturity of the brain, beyond
7-12 inches an infants world is a total blur. Infants eyes unlike ours do
not contain a fovea. A fovea is the area of the retina in which the images are
focused. Their eye movements are very slow and are jerky at times.
They are able
to see color but prefer the sharper contrast of black and white. Although babies
cant see small objects that are far away, infants can see large objects that
are close up. An adults perfect vision is estimated to be 20/20 and
infants vision is estimated to be around 20/600 (psychology, pg 387). By
the end of the first year a babys vision nearly matches that of a grown adult
(psychology, pg 387). Newborns actively use their senses from the time that they
are born. When they are little their attention span is very limited.
first two months, they can only focus on an edge of an object, however by the
end of the 2nd month they can scan a whole object. This is important because it
shows that a babys attention span is very limited and they are not able to
focus on an object for a long period of time (www.drkoop.com). At the time of
birth newborns can hear soft voices as well as loud voices and can also notice
differences between different sounds that are made. Infants are not able to
listen or hear selectively.
When babies hear speech they tend to open their eyes
wider and look for the speaker. Infants love the sounds of children since their
voices are higher in pitch. This is why they like to hear baby talk which
is used by most adults all over the world (www.drkoop.com). In the first 2 weeks
after birth, infants have developed some reflexes.
Babies begin to explore their
grasping reflex where they can hold tightly to an object. Many of these
behaviors evolved because they are important for a childs survival, without
these a child would not be able to physically develop. The absence of reflexes
in a newborn are signals of possible problems in brain development (psychology,
pg 388). Newborns are brought into this world having some sort of reflexes in
order for them to adapt to their surroundings. One of the most basic reflexes is
the rooting reflex. This reflex helps an infant turn its head to any object the
stimulates a cheek, such as a baby bottle for feeding.
A newborn also will have
a very strong grasping reflex. If you place your finger in a babys finger,
generally anywheres from one-week old and on a baby will have a very strong
grip. Motor skills also allow a baby to sit, crawl, stand, and walk. Some motor
skills such as sitting up come a lot earlier than walking. Cognitive development
relates to the reasoning and logic of an infant. Jean Piaget among all
researchers dedicated his life to a search for the ideas behind cognitive
He was the first person to chart the journey from the simple
reflexes of the newborn to the complex adolescent (psychology pg. 390).
Piaget believed that all childrens thinking progresses through the same
stages, in the same order without skipping, or building onto previous stages.
He also believed that the thinking of infants is different from the thinking
of children and the .