Saturday, January 14, 2012

Doman Running Program Update (Physical Excellence Friday)

I know it's cliche.

Treadmills in January.

But whatever the matter of cultural trends may be, we are back at running this week. However, this time in the slightly-less-than-ideal location of our garage.

I know, I know. The Doman running program is ideally conducted outside. More interesting, fresh air, the works.

But lately the I have had to give up the "all or nothing" mindset and settle for "pretty good".

See, I have been working a lot lately. Eighteen hours a day, to be exact.

And when I have a house full of daycare kids, all day, every day, the idea of going out for a run is a little bit more trouble than it should be. And we just simply haven't been doing it, the majority of the time.

But we did a little rearranging in the garage this past weekend, plugged in the nine-year-old treadmill that someone gave us recently, and ran.

We are starting small. Easy. This is what it looks like right now:

l I run first (for 20 minutes) while he watches and does other exercises (aka plays around)  
l He then runs. Two minutes of walking (3 miles per hour), two minutes of running (5 miles per hour), repeat (for 20 minutes). 
l At this rate he gets about 2.7 miles in within twenty minutes.  
l I monitor him very closely. Like within arms length. Kids + treadmills can invariably spell disaster, so this is something to be careful about. As you can see he also has the emergency stop pull-string on, which shuts down the whole machine the moment anything goes wrong (and also the moment anything doesn't go wrong - it's pretty sensitive).  
l We have fun with it. He loves "working out", especially since it's something dad does. He also is pretty keen on getting to use adult equipment.

I am going to go ahead and make a 10-mile nonstop goal for the end of the year, for both Hunter and I. We will see how it goes.

Physical Excellence Friday
"When thou goest, thy steps shall not be straitened; and when thou runnest, thou shalt not stumble." 
Proverbs 4:12
Hunter is 6 years, 9 months old 

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The IAHP Developmental Profile

The Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential (IAHP)'s Developmental Profile is to child brain development what the Periodic Table is to chemistry.

Clean. Concise. Well-organized. No-nonsense. And more importantly, "clear and straightforward so that any parent can study it and, what is much more important, use it easily." (from How Smart is Your Baby, chapter 7)

In their own words,

"The Institutes Developmental Profile is a delineation of the significant stages of development that normal children pass through as they progress from birth to six years of age. It reflects progressive brain development. The Profile was developed after years of research and study of how children develop."

I can't copy and publish the chart for copyright purposes, but the whole chart is available on their website here: IAHP Developmental Profile

When you go to their site and look over the chart, you will see that the chart is divided into six columns.

They are:
1. Mobility competence (gross motor movement)
2. Language competence (speech
3. Manual competence (use of the hands
4. Visual competence (seeing)
5. Auditory competence (hearing)
6. Tactile competence (feeling)

The first three functions are motor functions, the last three are sensory functions. Simple, right?

For each of the columns, there are seven different colored rows.

The bottom row, red, represent the child's brain function at birth. For example, in the manual column is the grasp reflex. In the visual column is the light reflex. In the auditory column is the startle reflex.

The next row, orange, represents the next stage of brain development (achieved in the average child by the age of 2.5 months). For example, in the visual column we will find the ability to see outlines. In the language column, we will find the ability to cry more seriously in response to things that the baby finds threatening.

The rows keep going, to yellow (seven months), green (twelve months), blue (eighteen months), indigo (three years), and lastly violet (six years).

In upcoming posts, I will go over some more details about why the profile is important, how it can be used by parents, why the ages set as averages are not set in stone, how parents are able to influence their child's brain development with specific activities for each stage and category, and also more background on the profile and its uniqueness and how it can help you understand the incredible design and ability of your child's growing brain.

Until then, I will give it over to the man himself as he introduces the profile in his own words:

For more info please see:

"...and the child grew, and the LORD blessed him." 
Judges 13:24
Thank you for your comments! 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Seven Month Old Developmental Check-In (Stage III, Midbrain and Subcortical Areas)

Damien, the day he turned seven months old

Early last June, sitting in a hospital bed holding my tiny newborn, all wrinkled, blotchy-skinned, and helpless, it was hard to fathom that in just a little over 200 days he would be creeping [crawling], standing, "talking", understanding, and charming at the level he is now.

Seven months passes by in the blink of an eye.

Seven months is also another benchmark age on the Developmental Profile for the average age for babies to achieve stage III brain function (using the midbrain and subcortical areas).

In speaking of the profile, the IAHP says

"The time schedule is highly variable and depends, not upon genetic factors, but rather upon the frequency, intensity and duration of the stimuli provided to the brain by the child's environment, which is notably and most often his family."

The idea is that the brain grows by use, not by some biological alarm clock. Opportunity, frequency, encouragement, and to a lesser decree, personality will determine development. Our goal is, of course, to give our baby as much of these things as possible and do all we can to help him, not hinder him.

Damien, 5 months, pauses his creeping adventures for a smile

1. Stage III Mobility: Creeping on hands and knees, culminating in cross pattern creeping

Age achieved: 5 months, 2 weeks old

Description: "Creeping" is what most of us know as "crawling" - that cute little hands and knees movement that typifies the picture of babyhood. "Cross pattern creeping" refers to the cross pattern exhibited when a baby uses his opposite extremities simultaneously to move while on his hands and knees - right arm and left leg go forward, then left arm and right leg go forward.

Damien achieved the official "cross pattern creeping" at five months old. He has been "crawling" in other formations - more or less scooting, hopping, lunging, twisting, and rolling - since four months. He has had movement on his stomach (pushing his legs off the ground and propelling himself forward) since birth.

His most current interest is pulling himself to standing, which he does essentially all day, every day, creeping around the house finding different pieces of furniture that can act as a support frame for his vertical position.

Damien, at four months, babbling on

2. Stage III Language: Creation of meaningful sounds

Age achieved: 1-2 months

Description: "Creation of meaningful sounds" is when the baby essentially begins to make noises, beyond a basic cry, that have meaning attached to them. He begins to be able to communicate not only his needs, but his wants, moods, feelings, and preferences. These are not necessarily first English words, but words for him nonetheless.

Damien began creating meaningful sound at about 1-2 months old. He began to coo when he was happy, "yell" when he wanted attention, and whine when he was tired.

At four months, Damien said his first English word - "dada". He still attaches meaning to that word and says it when he sees pictures of his dad. His second English word, "more" (which comes out more like "muh" or "mah") began the day he turned seven months old. Ever since then, he creeps up to me and says "muh" when he wants food, or while we are eating and he wants another bite. (So he has achieved stage IV language development, "Two words of speech used spontaneously and meaningfully", an average 12 month milestone).

Damien, at six months, practicing using the prehensile grasp with small objects

3. Stage III Manual: Prehensile grasp

Age achieved: 3 months

Description: The "prehensile grasp" is when a baby is able to voluntarily pick up objects using his whole hand. The four fingers and palm are mainly used, while the thumb is usually not.

Damien achieved the prehensile grasp at around at the end of his third month. The first object that he was able to easily grab and pick up were some of Hunter's nerf gun bullets. He is now working on the pincer grasp (picking up objects with thumb and forefinger) and has nearly mastered it (an average 12 month milestone).

Damien, at two months, had grown tired of his detail board and was looking around the room for new things

4. Stage III Visual Competence: Appreciation of detail within a configuration

Age achieved: 1.5 months old

Description: At birth, babies can see only light and dark. Soon after, babies begin to see outlines. The next step is being able to see "detail within a configuration", for example the details of mother's face within the outline of her head.

Damien achieved this stage of development at approximately 4-5 weeks of age. He began to smile in response to facial expressions (without sound). He began to study detail on his daddy's camouflage uniform, or the patterns on his bouncy seat. By two months, he was studying details from across the room.

By 5-6 months, he had achieved the next stage (level IV) of development: depth perception. At seven months now his depth perception is quite good - he creeps quickly and easily without running into things much anymore, and reaches well with good accuracy.

Damien, seven months, quite happy with himself that he is no longer afraid of the vacuum

5. Stage III Auditory Competence: Appreciation of meaningful sounds

Age achieved: 2 months

Description: Baby listens to many sounds in his environment from birth, and will soon begin to understand their meaning. For example, the bathtub water running, the door opening, and mother's voice. In family members' voices, he begins to understand the tone of voice and their meanings.

Damien began to be comforted by a soothing voice at around two months old. He started laughing at silliness, and being scared by upset voices. He was deathly afraid of the vacuum for a while, now he seems to have proudly conquered his fear.

Between one and four months, he also achieve the next stage (level IV) of development: "Understanding of two words of speech". At four weeks he began to understand the meaning of the word "nurse". Other words soon followed, including "potty" (and other words associated with it) and "up". 

Damien at two months, laughing with a tickle

6. Stage III Tactile Competence: Appreciation of gnostic sensation

Age achieved: 2 months

Description: "Gnostic" comes from the Greek root word for knowledge, "gnosis". Gnostic sensation means, literally, "knowing sensation". At birth babies cannot feel very well - they may not respond consistently to pain, hot, or cold. Soon they begin to respond to these more intense sensations quickly and instantly. The next stage is to be able to respond to more variances in sensation and be able to appreciate them - for example, the subtleties of cool and warm, the peaceful calm of a soothing massage, or the humor of a boisterous tickle.

Damien achieved this stage at about 2 months old. He began to respond to tickles, enjoy his infant massages, and notice the differences in textures and what made him comfortable or uncomfortable. At four months, he achieved stage IV, "Tactile understanding of the third dimension in objects which appear to be flat". This is when he started to notice small things (like specks on the floor), or things that clearly looked flat (like a piece of paper) and started feeling for them and trying to grab them.


So in summary, this is what my notes on Damien's little Developmental Profile look like (in the back of my How Smart is Your Baby book) for him at seven months, one day old:



He is still perfecting his stage IV (green) areas, but overall is doing very well. Environment really does make such a huge difference!

Thank you for your comments!

Damien is 7 months, 0 week old