- Early stimulation can help a child’s brain develop faster.
- Development of brain, sensory perception and motor skills happen in sync.
- If synapses formed in the brain are not used, they can disappear as the child grows.
- The importance of early stimulation in children who have special challenges is greater.
According to recent brain research and studies, early stimulation can help a child’s brain develop faster.
The findings come in contrast to the viewpoint that children should develop at their own pace. This mindset, which according to Professor Audrey van der Meer can be traced back to the 1900s, asks that children should not be challenged to do activities they are not ready for.
Early stimulation helps children’s brains develop faster.
Van der Meer has studied brain activities of babies using EEG technology. She found that the development of the brain, sensory perception and motor skills happen in sync.
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Her findings have revealed that teaching children new skills enables the neurons in their brains to increase in number and develop in terms of specialization. The babies also become mobile, accomplishing many physical tasks by themselves.
“Research also shows that children born into cultures where early stimulation is considered important, develop earlier than Western children do,” van der Meer says, as noted by Science Daily.
Children are extremely impressionable. They can be influenced by what happens around them. As a result, they are able to easily adapt to their surroundings. In accordance to this, the synapses formed in the brain should be used. If they are not, they can disappear as the child grows. The brain may also lose some of its plasticity.
Promoting learning and helping prevent problems is easier in children, van der Meer says.
New research in brain development has enabled better treatment.
Lars Adde, a specialist in pediatric physical therapy at St. Olavs Hospital, says it is extremely important that every child receives early stimulation to help them grow. The need for early stimulation becomes all the more significant in children who have special challenges.
“This is due to the rapid development in medical technology, which enables us to save many more children — like extremely premature babies and infants who get cancer. These children would have died 50 years ago, and today they survive — but often with a number of subsequent difficulties,” says Adde.
The new research in brain development has enabled children to receive better treatment and care options. Strengthening of certain types of synapses in the brain has led to the knowledge that children have to work in order become effective in certain physical tasks, like walking.
Nevertheless, it may not always be favorable to provide early stimulation to enhance a child’s development with special needs who initially have a difficult time with their motor skills. For example, finding a balance is crucial in learning how to walk. If the child is not able to find the right balance, they may fall down. Generally, healthy children are able to figure this out on their own eventually.