Friday, August 5, 2011

Vestibular Shmibular

Developmental movement specialists would call Claire a “pre-crawler” -- no longer just a baby…a “pre-crawler”.

I have learned this term because we are taking her to a pre-crawler class next week. As an elementary special educator, I know the importance of crawling. It supports development of something called “crossing the midline”, which is valuable for all kinds of skills from writing to throwing a ball (Google the term for loads of information.)

My work as a teacher has taught me many things about encouraging a child’s development – to the point of paralysis. Claire spends a lot of time sleeping. I spend a lot of time getting her to sleep. I have a general lack of sleep. There's no time to do all of the things recommended to promote her development.

For example, the pre-crawler guy just told me that Claire should be spending most of her time on her tummy. Similarly, other developmental movement specialists warn against excessive car seat use and what’s termed “assisted sitting”. I don’t know how to reconcile these opinions with the recommendation that she sit face to face with us to encourage speech development and social skills. Or the advice of babywearing advocates that we carry her to stimulate the vestibular system -- a somatic, sensory system that helps us balance and move through space (another term you could look up).

Our parents like to point out that they had none of this information and we turned out just fine, thank you very much. I’m not exactly sure how we came out, but I’m beginning to agree that the information age may be more appropriately called the age of anxiety. What about just plain having fun with your baby? That’s what I plan on doing with Claire at the pre-crawler class.

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