Early intervention is key to preventing and addressing developmental delays. Motor development forms the basis of so many functional skills, the sooner we address the sooner we will succeed. So much is happening in an infant’s brain during development, and mommas, you will have such an influence on that. This is also one of the reasons therapists do not always like the wait-and-see approach. Are there exceptions? Of course. But as children continue to learn and develop, sooner is better than later.
So, let us take a step back from gross motor development and talk about brain development. This is where it all begins! NEURODEVELOPMENT. Our brain cells are called neurons and they are interconnected with each other in order to form functional pathways. A newborn baby has abundance of these pathways but they are not as connected as adult brain. How a baby moves, talks, develops, thinks, eats, responds in influenced by these connections/pathways.
Neurons grow in the first year of life as the infants are stimulated through various experiences like motor, sensory and cognitive via play. These connections continue to grow till 3 years of life, however not all connections remain. The connections are formed through experiences and if we do not continue to use these experiences these connections, we start losing them known as PRUNING. PRUNING is a normal process for a typically developing child but think about the infant or child who is not going through the typical development or has not been given the experience so are they forming the connections. Now at least we have a basic understanding of why Early experiences are so important! But I do not want you to worry, these connections can be formed at any point in life, even a 50 or 80-year-old can form new connections. HOW? By practice … practice until it becomes a skill also knows as NEUROPLASTICITY. And this can happen with even our children with brain injuries like cerebral palsy or neurodevelopmental disorders like angelman syndrome, downs syndrome etc.
As an early intervention therapist, my role is to educate, empower, assist and help learn strategies specific for your baby through intentional and purposeful play. So, why wait when you can start something now, it’s not late.
Senior therapist at Hope-AMC
Certified Advanced Neurodevelopmental therapist and Sensory Integration therapist .