Past: Seen as fragile, and helpless
Now know: well-developed reflexes and sensory responses
Well-equipped to begin adapting to environment
Babinski Reflex- don’t know why it happens, but most are understood
Indication that you do need to do further assessment with neurological
impairment, and appearance of reflexes if there is a problem, no reflexes or
disappearing reflexes (if you don’t see them disappearing- could be
indication of neurological impairment)
Reflexes allow baby to learn about the world ex. Act of using reflex to suck-
nipple as opposed to sucking on a bottle, small piece of learning (right from
birth the baby is involved w/ some form of learning).
Automatic, unlearned responses to stimulation
27 major reflexes
Some disappear during the first year and some persist for life
States of Arousal:
Between 6 main states-
1) Quiet Sleep- no rapid eye movement
2) Active Sleep (REM)
4) Quiet Alert- best for studying infants, ready to take in the stimulation
5) Active Alert- more movement, may not be paying attention
1) Sleep States:
Sleep 16-18 hours/day (awake for 1 hour, sleep for 3 hours)
3-4 months: sleep more at night
Rapid Eye Movement:
- Stimulation of brain
- Protect health of eyes- helps get oxygen to eyes, fluid that coats the eye is
stimulated when in REM sleep.
-Preterm infants spend even more time in REM, 90% of sleep in REM for
2) Waking States: Important for processing information from the environment
Two basic modes of response to stimulation
a) Orienting Response
- Behavioral localization to the source of stimulation ex. Turn head toward
sound. – Moderate stimulation- soft talking, noises, moderate light intensity.
b) Defensive Response
- Behaviour that involves withdrawing from the source of stimulation.
- Have a very narrow window for stimulation, with greater brain
development that window starts to open to take in things of greater intensity
ex. Turn head away from sound
3) Crying States:
First way to communicate
Can be identified by unique vocal signature of their cries
Adult Responsiveness to Infant Cries:
- Depends on:
- Interpretation of Cry: adults use cry intensity and context, accuracy
improves with experience
- Adult Characteristics: Empathy, child-centered attitude, perception of
control over crying (have some strategy to help the child).
Ways to Soothe a Crying Baby:
Rocking or walking
Massage- calm the baby down, helps with regulation
Pacifier/Suck thumb until 3 to 4 years (could affect teeth emergence)
- How the baby regulates his/her emotions- motor behaviour
Carriage, car, swing- some type of motion always helps
- Using more than one method has cumulative effect.
Growth follows Cephalocaudal and Proximodistal principles
Body fat increases quickly: peaks at 7-9 months- Body fat helps with
regulation- to regulate body temperature.
- Body fat goes down by 10%, trauma of birth, getting used to world outside,
but then baby environment- feeding becomes routine.
Muscle development is gradual- becomes longer and thicker
Fontanels (“soft spots”) shrink during the first 2 years
- when baby is developing prenatally there are gaps in the skull, held
together by fibrous tissue, could be malleable, helps with birth process
coming through the canal, tissue becomes toughened when born, there
becomes a seem between the gaps with allows the skull to enlarge, the big
gaps shrink to become seems and sutures.
Bone Development- bone starts to lengthen, until puberty (refer to diagram) Teething happens between 3-4 months, 5-9 months eruption of the first
Brain is nearer to adult size than any other structure- newborn: 25% of adult
Our brains are large in proportion to other animals, brain-body ours is more
Continues to develop at a fast pace during first 3 years
Brain has same structure as adult brain, already have most of the neuron
being produced prenatally 4-5 weeks neural tube is produced and migrates
to different areas of the brain done 5-6 months or so.
Neuron is basic unit of nervous system, signals being transmitted to the brain
(receive and transmit information).
Increases in brain size:
1) Growth of neurons
2) Increases in synapses (synaptogenesis)- taking place in synaptic gap.
- forming after birth, requires some stimulation
- gradual increase in number of synapses- 150% of what adult has
- Goes into a uncommitted state when done.
3) Growth and Multiplication of glial cells- support and protect the
neurons- substances that nourish the neurons, more glial than neurons.
-Axon transmits information, synaptic clept/ synaptic gap
Myelin: fatty covering for axons
Allows nerve impulses to travel faster
Makes neuron more efficient in transmitting information
Disorders like alzimers is because of myelin
Neurons that are seldom stimulation lose their synapses
- Disposal of axons and dendrites, neurons sit in an uncommitted state but
you don’t have the connection anymore
- Beneficial to baby, has space to grow- you make the brain more efficient by
getting rid of connections you’re not actually using.
Intellectually challenging environment creates a more complex network of
- Have neurons waiting for input - Although brain development follows some general biochemical instructions,
the brain’s organization and function can be affected by experience
- Injured brain is not totally plastic:
- depends on age at time of injury site of damage and skill area
- Children who are learning American sign language- areas in brain that are
dedicated by auditory stimulation can be taken over by visual stimulation.
Two Types of Brain Growth:
1) Experience- Expectant Growth:
- Brain’s ability to create circuits based on typical human experiences