What you’ll learn to do: describe physical growth and development in infants and toddlers
We’ll begin this section by reviewing the physical development that occurs during infancy, a period that starts at birth and continues until the second birthday. We’ll see how this time involves rapid growth, not only in observable changes like height and weight, but also in brain development.
Next we will explore reflexes. At birth, infants are equipped with a number of reflexes, which are involuntary movements in response to stimulation. We will explore these innate reflexes and then consider how these involuntary reflexes are eventually modified through experiences to become voluntary movements and the basis for motor development as skills emerge that allow an infant to grasp food, roll over, and take the first step.
Third, we will explore the baby’s senses. Every sense functions at birth—newborns use all of their senses to attend to everything and every person. We will explore how infants’ senses develop and how sensory systems like hearing and vision operate, and how infants take in information through their senses and transform it into meaningful information.
Finally, since growth during infancy is so rapid and the consequence of neglect can be severe, we will consider some of the influences on early physical growth, particularly the importance of nutrition.