Baby development

Slow developers

Every baby's development is different from every other's and is a complex mixture of patterns. These are determined mainly by inheritance - normal inheritance, not faulty inheritance. Early or late walking, teething, talking, tallness or shortness, tend to run in families. But all these characteristics vary in the same family, because each family's inheritance is a great mixture.

Usually, slow development has nothing to do with inadequate care or inherited defects or the sins of the parents (real or imaginary).

Motor development covers such skills as holding the head erect, sitting, crawling, standing, walking. We have average statistics for each of these, but the variations are great among babies who are entirely healthy and normal. There are a few diseases that interfere with motor development, but these can usually be diagnosed by a doctor.

Development of intelligence

It's particularly important for parents of a child who is slow in motor development to know that there is very little connection between   this and intelligence. More than nine out of ten of the babies who are distinctly slow in motor development turn out to have normal intelligence. Incidentally, the development tests that are sometimes given in infancy are mainly tests of motor ability and social responsiveness. They reveal whether the baby has had a disease or injury to the brain and whether a baby has suffered emotionally from neglect. But aside from these conditions, they do not tell in the first year anything about what the child's intelligence will be in the future. Intelligence, which has to do with such abilities as reasoning and memory, cannot begin to be tested reliably until about 2 years of age.

Intelligence, in contrast to motor development, has a lot more to do with environment than with inheritance. Babies born to parents with low intelligence but adopted into average or bright families tend to develop an intelligence like that of their adoptive parents.

Social and emotional development of the baby may depend on the tempereament that babies are born with -whether they are quiet or active, for instance - but most of all babies depend on what experiences they have. There is no evidence that specific disturbances like untruthfulness, meaness and delinquency are inherited.

Babies who are slow in development certainly need to be checked regularly by their doctor to be sure that there is no disease or condition that needs correcting.

Text source: Dr. Spock's Baby and Child Care -Beanjamin Spock and Michael Rothenberg