The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Health and Fitness

January 8, 2013

Birth to age 2 is a busy time in a child's development


And it’s sad enough for a baby to be born damaged through no fault of the parents.

One developmental accident of unknown cause tends to emerge by 2.  Autism. A growing number of children entering kindergarten are identified as autistic. When the “cause” of autism is almost discovered, it turns out to be questionable. Sadly, as of now, the cause is unknown.

From birth to 2, children take in their world through the five senses — seeing, hearing, tasting, touching and smelling.  During this time, the brain has a left side and a right side. A bridge that connects each separate part begins to develop. In most children, those halves are connected by age 6 or 7.

One of the most important life-long traits developed by a child’s first birthday is the ability to trust. This means that during the child’s first year of life, she “senses” that her basic needs are either being met — or not met.

Here’s an example of sensing. I am wet and uncomfortable and somebody will take care of me. The opposite is, I am wet and uncomfortable and nobody comes to my rescue. No one cares about me.

The capacity to trust in others to care “when I need them” is developed about the time the first candle appears on a cake. The first geometric shape an infant sees is the circle. We look down on babies in a crib and the baby sees many circles — face, eyes, nostrils, mouth.  She sees, hears the cooing voice, smells a scent, reaches out to touch the face, then tastes her fingers. She feels safe. She is learning. 

Around age 2, if she sees you draw a circle with a crayon, she might be able to draw a circle — wobbly, no doubt. Typically, the 2-year-old will scribble vertical or horizontal lines. Hopefully, not on the kitchen walls.

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