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What Changes in Infant Perceptual Skills Happen Over the First Year of Life?
The birth of an infant is considered a miracle with a scientific explanation to it. This was a mystery for ancient human beings, which today has transcended into a proper field of science which requires constant research and evolution in our knowledge to understand the complexity of things that happen to grow an innocent and lovable newborn baby into a high functioning adult.
Perceptual skills is the set of abilities a human being has which allows him or her to do day-to-day functioning. Perceptual skills can be better understood by the word “perception,” which means a person’s view and understanding, based on which a person makes a judgement and implements it through personal actions. It is quintessential for us to learn the growth pattern of an infant and educate ourselves with all the knowledge about the perceptual skills growth of a newborn baby, especially in the earlier years. Here we will discuss a step-by-step change of perceptual skills of an infant in the first year.
The first month of perceptual skill development of an infant is all about reflexes and survival skills. The skills acquired by a baby at this stage are sucking, swallowing, coughing, gagging, elimination, grasping, blinking, and startling. At this stage, although the eyesight is not coordinated, the infant can see objects at a 12-15 inch distance, especially slow-moving objects. Also, the infant can differentiate taste and smell. Further, the child is observed to have a sense of response towards his or her mother’s voice (Office of Child Development).
The period between the end of the first month to the start of the fourth month of an infant’s life demonstrates the following perceptual skill growth. The baby starts responding to stimulus as he or she starts trying to hold objects which are in direct contact with the baby’s own palms. The baby starts investigating things by trying to taste and by putting objects in the mouth (Office of Child Development).
The next four months sees the beginning of coordination of the infant’s hands and eyes. They use this new skill to reach for things around them. The anticipation of things to happen is another skill in the locker of an infant. Infants use this skill of anticipating and open the mouth for food intake. Further, an infant learns in this period to copy actions of the caretakers, such as the waving of hands. They also develop a memory of their caretakers and become fond of them (Office of Child Development).
The final four months of the first year of an infant’s life begins the move towards self-independence. The new perceptual skills of the infant include crawling, walking with the support of a caretaker, and understanding orders and responding to it. They usually speak their first words during this period, understanding the meaning of the word “no” (Office of Child Development).
This 12 month journey is sometimes neglected in the adoring and admiring of a baby’s sweetness, but when documented, this journey well and truly is astonishing to know. Advancements in the science of human behavior has helped us understand a lot with many more secrets to be unraveled. In the end, the human as a living being never ceases to amaze, with its mesmerizing evolution and breathtaking discoveries.
Myers, Robert. “Early Childhood Perceptual Development.” Child Development Institute, 08.
Dec. 2014. https://childdevelopmentinfo.com/development/early-childhood-perceptua
Office of Child Development. “Developmental Milestone: Birth to 12 Months.”
University of Pittsburgh, 28 Dec. 2015. Accessed 24 June 2017.