Infant and Child Development
I came across a good podcast on this topic.
I had also meant to post a link for a BBC podcast on the infant brain, but the BBC has deleted it.
Anyway, the one I have got a current link for is an episode from a podcast series "Body Learning" by Robert Rickover, an Alexander Technique teacher from Lincoln, Nebraksa. He's interviewing a lady called Loren Shlaes, who is an AT teacher and an occupational therapist.
She's a great interview subject and has some things to say about how babies and children develop - and how and why things can become problematic for them, if they don't get the right kinetic experiences at the right age. For example, she's very interesting on how babies that are carried on the hip, as in most cultures, get the experience of balancing their head and turning it this way and that to catch interesting sounds and sights - and how that's developmentally important for postural reflexes and balance. A baby in modern society, by contrast, may spend much time in a car seat or a pushchair, trapped in a position in which he can mostly only look forwards and not get the movement experiences he needs at a developmentally crucial point.
There's much more, including some tips for parents on how to avoid harmful furniture, and what activities are damaging to posture - and which helpful. There's some interesting discussion about school priorities. Most choose seating on the basis of whether it will stack easily (this makes the needs of the adults more important than the needs of the children - staggering when you think about it.) Another one - some U.S. schools have got rid of lockers, because they're worried children will keep drugs in them. The unintended result is that children carry too much weight to and from school, which can be damaging to the spine. Rickover says he's seen kids leaning over at 45 degrees - their packs are so heavy they can't walk upright. Again, this is an example of schools not really thinking about - even being aware of - the needs of the children. Why are small children getting so much homework that they need to carry around all these books anyway? Don't they do enough hours sitting, reading, and writing in school? and when do they get to run around and play, which is a real need for them?
Here's the iTunes link to the podcast:
Loren Shlaes has her own site - I haven't looked at it yet, but here's the URL:
Here also is the iTunes link for Robert Rickover's main podcast link:
There's a few episodes there that may be of interest to people, although some of the subjects are a bit specialist.