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Infant and Toddler Stimulation at Home


Sensorial stimulation  of children

Source: Google images

“If we all could see the world through eyes of a child, we would see the magic in everything.” – Chee Vai Tang

Parenthood blesses you with anxiety .As parents we often want our children to have the best of the opportunities available to them but at the same time we do not want to go all overboard. Child care sometimes appears to be an awesome, innovative industry and the creativity explored and expressed here is amazing. Play gyms, bouncers, teethers and safety equipment, they keep getting makeovers that really creditable. We have play and music sessions from international banners like Gymboree and Musical Bonding. We have compilations of sacred chants and devotional music played out to our babies along with nursery rhymes. Mother toddler programs are being popularised as a prelude to playgroups. We have books on raising ‘smart’ babies and websites devoted to child rearing education. Yet there are instances when we are compelled to ask ourselves if all this is overrated. Therefore I wish to share some of the insights I have gained raising my daughter considering myself to be a well ‘informed’ parent.

As a doctor, I knew that supplemental sensory stimulation in any or all of the sensory modalities (sight, sound, touch, taste, smell and balance) is advised as a therapeutic intervention to compensate for the lack of a normal or typical environment providing sensory stimulation or in the presence of atypical environmental sensory stimulation. For example, infants born prematurely or those  hospitalized in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) are exposed to high levels of intense and aversive sensory impulses related to necessary medical care (e.g., heel pricks and injections).Besides, the general NICU environment (e.g., lights and alarms) is far from conducive to a smooth transition from the mother’s womb. Furthermore, these sick infants do not receive the same caregiver stimulation and interaction that healthy full-term infants generally receive from their parents in the home environment. In such a scenario stimulation is definitely beneficial. Babies being raised in stressful situations like foster homes or those having endured a prolonged illness show a lot of progress with additional stimulation.

But I wondered if it was really necessary to put such efforts for a baby with no risk factors suggesting developmental problems. And I learnt that it is worth the investment because it definitely enhances the close and loving relationship between you and your baby.

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Dr. Krishna Mahathi holds diplomas in Pediatrics and in the management of allergies and asthma. Years of working and interacting with children and parents have given her insight into developmental disabilities. She wishes that there was more awareness and acceptance of the issues that differently-abled children face and hopes that through this blog, she can enable thse children and their families to make sensible and informed choices.


One thought on “Infant and Toddler Stimulation at Home

  1. Ignatius Fernandez

    Krishna, well-crafted article! I like in particular the emphasis you give to the father’s involvement. Most articles focus on the mother’s role, which is doubtless important, but the father ends up a distant second. You have corrected that. Thank you. God bless.
    Ignatius Fernandez.

    Reply

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