Visual, Auditory, and Tactile Stimuli in Learning

A few weeks ago we looked at a five month old baby who was learning to reach and grasp via her sense of touch, rather than primarily through sight.  We were concerned that she may need some assistance with her vision, especially since many of her family members wear glasses.  This baby has a wonderful mother who wanted to get whatever assistance her daughter may need for her vision.  She expressed concern about her baby’s eyesight to her pediatrician the following week at a regular appointment.  He examined the baby for a while, having her track lights around the room, follow toys, etc.  He decided to upgrade an appointment with an eye specialist as “urgent.”  However, it took quite a few weeks to get the appointment scheduled.  During this wait, the baby approached seven months old.

In our post “A Lesson From a Wide-Eyed Doe,” we learned that most visual abilities are present by six months and fully developed by one year.  So the baby was about at the time where her eyes are quite well developed.  The mother was eager to have the checkup with the eye specialist to get any corrective measures needed for the baby.  During the past couple of months, the mother had purchased several rattles and toys with sensory stimulating designs.  They had different textures on them, and the mother thought her daughter would be intrigued by the variations in tactile sensation.  When the appointment finally arrived with they eye doctor, the baby was reaching and grasping for everything around her.  The doctor conclude that at this point, her eyesight is normal.  He thought maybe it developed a bit more slowly, but now it appears normal.

What we can learn from this story is the importance of examining our concern with a medical professional?  If there is no need for a corrective measure, our concern is instantly alleviated.  If there is a need for assistance, such as glasses for eyesight, we can take that step so baby can continue developing in as optimal manner as possible.  We also learn that we can involve several senses in learning movement.  As we observe which sensory stimulation baby responds to the most, we can focus on stimulating that sense to aid in learning.  This baby’s mother did just that when she went out and purchased several rattles with textures such as strips of smooth ribbons, squares of plush velvet, and sections of bumpy plastic.  The baby responded to these textures with much interest.  Then, her engagement with the toy probably focused her eyes on it and aided the development of her eyesight.  Now, her mother can relax her concern with the eyesight and concentrate on guiding her baby into the next movement of crawling.

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