THAT LOVIN’ FEELING
From the moment babies are born, these tiny human beings start communicating with the world around them. The vital connection between you and your infants depends on this communication.
Infants will use extensive body language, facial expressions, and all sorts of verbal sounds to interact with you. These movements and sound will eventually evolve into ‘bonding’ language.
But until they do, you may have an incredibly difficult time understanding your infant’s’ attempts to tell you things.
How many times have you wished you could look into your babies’ minds and know what was going on in there? How many parents have felt the instinctual longing to bond, extract a thought, or a word from their troubled infants?
The inability to understand your infant is certainly there because you don’t try hard enough, nor is it because the infants abandon their attempts to express themselves.
Infants have an instinctual need to communicate with you, just as you have an instinctual need to understand them.
Infants are born with abundant intelligence. However, they have a limited means to let you know what their thoughts and needs are. The muscles that allow speech to form are undeveloped, restricting the infant from participating in verbal language.
Imagine how it must feel to be a baby who has many specific needs and thoughts to express, but has no effective way to make those specific needs or thoughts understood.
At times, it must be frustrating for these small and socially dependent beings to live with these limitations.
Communications is one of the highest forms of social interaction.
Leading researchers in infant behavior have determined that social interaction is crucial to all infants’ development. They have further concluded that for a caregiver to withhold social responses to an infant’s attempts to communicate is one of the most disruptive things that can occur in the infant’s learning process.
What can you do to encourage this learning process? Here is where SIGN with your BABY contribute to your infant’s development. Imagine how your babies might feel if one day you started using simple hand movements to communicate.
Let’s say you make a particular motion during a certain daily activity, such as eating. Soon your infants associate that movement with the situation or activity that was taking place when the motion was introduced.
They begin to experiment with their own hands and discover they can replicate the movements you make.
Receiving reinforcement from you, babies quickly learn that by making this motion, they can communicate their needs and wants.
The time between newborn birth and when your infants utter their first recognizable words can be a time of miscommunication or a time when your communication is less than precise.
This does not have to be the case. These precious months can be rich in meaningful and effective infant/parent interaction.
Using manual communication with your infants can help build a solid foundation for mutual understanding, dramatically contributing to the bonding process.
The complexity of the ear means that it is vulnerable to damage from a wide variety of sources – disease, genetic disorders, infection, noise, or accidents.
Each age has its unique susceptibility: the fetus, because the ear mechanism is undergoing rapid development; the child, vulnerable to a host of ototoxic diseases; the adult, prey to the disintegration of the ear due to normal aging.
PRENATAL CAUSES OF HEARING LOSS. Loss of hearing from prenatal causes occurs in between 7 and 20 percent of deaf and hard-of-hearing people.
Significantly, most of these prenatal causes are preventable. The three major threats to the hearing mechanism of a woman’s unborn baby are viral diseases, ototoxic drugs (drugs that can harm hearing), and the woman’s health during pregnancy.
Of these, the biggest threat to prenatal ear development is viral disease contracted by a pregnant mother.
The most dangerous of all the viral diseases from the standpoint of hearing is rubella, though damage also can be caused by the mother’s infection with influenza, mumps, toxoplasmosis (protozoan infection), cytomegalovirus (CMV), and herpes.
In fact, almost any severe infection can damage the developing fetal hearing mechanism, especially during the first trimester, when the fetus seems to be especially vulnerable.
Only the common cold appears to carry no threat to an unborn child’s ears.
GERMAN MEASLES (Rubella):
A mother who contacts German measles during the first three months of pregnancy may give birth to a child with some degree of hearing loss.
Typically, the pregnant woman experiences just a mild rash and fever, but she may have no symptoms at all and not even realize she has been infected.
About one third of children born to children born to mothers who contract rubella may be deaf; especially if it occurs in the first few months of pregnancy.
However, there have been cases in which a baby sustained hearing loss when the mother contracted rubella as late as the seventh month of pregnancy.
The mother can also infect her baby long after she contracts rubella, since the virus may linger in her body and go on to injure an embryo that is conceived weeks or months after the infection appears to have subsided.
In some cases, the child’s deafness may be progressive, because the virus persists in the child’s body after birth.
Prenatal infection by toxoplasmosis can also lead to a hearing loss. Up to 45 percent of American women of reproductive age carry this organism, usually passed on by infected cats and their waste, and one baby out of every 800 will develop toxoplasmosis in the womb from an infected mother.
An infected pregnant woman’s doctor can’t confirm the disease unless they’ve had a negative toxoplasmosis test early in their pregnancy and subsequently test positive for the infection.
Most babies born with toxoplasmosis don’t show evidence of the infection immediately, but many physicians advise drug treatment anyway.
Up to half of all children infected with CMV in the womb will have a bilateral, sensorineural hearing loss of varying severity. Discovered in 1956, cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a member of the herpes virus family; it’s the largest, most complex virus known to infect humans.
The virus doesn’t usually cause any symptoms in healthy people, but it may set off symptoms like the common cold in a pregnant woman. Hearing loss in infants is most often profound, although some babies sustain milder losses.
Cytomegalovirus infection in the womb is now considered a possible cause of many previously unknown cases of non-genetic hearing loss.
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