Infant stimulation activities and early intervention programs for babies and young children with disabilities have been inspired by research into child development for more than a quarter of a century. Many mainstream Mommy and Me and preschool classes have benefitted from research into developmental delays and learning abilities of children who have Down syndrome.
New parents are often amazed by the changes any baby brings into their lives, and it is not only those whose babies are diagnosed with a developmental disability who feel extra stress and worry about how to help their children reach their true potential.
While there is scientific research showing which activities or games actually support children's natural abilities, most people do not realize how early babies develop perceptions and skills that help build their understanding of how the world works.
Families of infants with Down syndrome may not realize that their children are actually keeping up with the average rate of development for babies their age if they are unaware of typical developmental stages or how babies develop perception and motor control. Differences in vision, hearing, and muscle tone can affect any child.
Participating in mainstream Mommy and Me classes can give parents a better idea of the diversity in typical development as well as similarities in parent concerns. Toddlers with developmental delays can be encouraged and accommodated by using research into specific strategies for supporting young children with Down syndrome as well as effective interactions that encourage their mainstream peers.
Like early intervention, Mommy and Me classes provide a richness of experience and strategies for parent-child interactions, especially in observing, mirroring and following what is interesting and fun for the baby. Infants and young children have an amazing capacity for learning and as parents we want to give them every opportunity to develop a strong foundation to help them move forward in learning about the world and their very important place in it.
Understanding the capabilities of babies and toddlers in the sequence and time frame illustrated by the latest research is valuable for parents to know so we can provide the environment, interactions and stimulation that enhances our children's natural development. Babies and toddlers should not be limited by their age appropriate communication skills or the demands of our busy schedules. Understanding their capacities as well as their temporary limitations can help us spend the quality time and give them the richness of experience that works best for their development and enjoyment of life.
Browse at your local bookstore, public library or online retailer for books like: Amazing Minds: The Science of Nurturing Your Child's Developing Mind with Games, Activities and More and The Scientist in the Crib: What Early Learning Tells Us About the Mind.
Learning for Life: How Babies Learn
Amazing research from the Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences (I-LABS)