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Infant Toddler Development Training
Module 6, Lesson 1


Development is predictable and is seen as the outward expression of the maturing nervous system. Normal development is constant in rate and sequence, and is assisted through interaction with caregivers.

Newborns are initially assessed in the immediate neonatal period to determine their health status. Dr. Virginia Apgar developed the Apgar Scale in the early 1950's. There are five components to score and each component is scored between 0 and 2 with a total possible score of 10. The score is determined by the following five factors:

  1. heart rate
  2. respiratory rate
  3. muscle tone
  4. reflex irritability
  5. color

These are shown on the Apgar rating system

mother and baby smilingA newborn baby is a highly complex individual who is completely dependent on another person, usually the mother, for its care and nurturance. At birth, the newborn already has a remarkable capacity to interact. Social interaction with their caregivers supports the development of the infant. It is now recognized that the development of social competencies, in infancy, influences later cognitive functioning. This need of social interaction could be seen as a biological drive. This is important for the Infant Toddler Developmental Specialist (ITDS) to remember when planning interventions with families who have newborns. The affection of caregivers provides a motivation for children to be more compliant possibly because of the social attention they are receiving. For an infant this interaction was once thought to be passive, but is now believed to be active. As parents focus attention on their infant and the baby responds, the baby becomes more curious and interactive. The process of interaction becomes increasingly more complex as the infant grows.

Sparrow (2004) states that one of the "touch points" of emotional development is mutual regulation and normal interactions between infants or young children and caregivers. This involves a process whereby the adult attends to a child's cues and lets the child lead the interactions.


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