New noises, laughing, games and gestures

In this chapter we examine how experience directly affects brain development and look at the crucial role the primary carer has in shaping this development. We look at Orson’s developing emotional intelligence and again, how Mum supports this development as they play and communicate with one another. Maria Robinson offers an explanation of the physiological brain development that is taking place during these integral interactions.

Good for looking at

  • Brain development
  • Personal, social & emotional development
  • Games, rhymes and songs
  • Laughing
  • Mirroring
  • Communicating and babbling
  • Babies
  • Parents
00:06
Austin's relationships and communications
00:08
are advancing rapidly.
00:10
And this is affecting his developing brain.
00:14
The interactions he has, influence the neural
00:17
connections made and these are now being made
00:20
at a massive rate.
00:21
Particularly in a part of the brain
00:23
called the pre-frontal cortex.
00:26
This area of the brain deals with more advanced
00:29
behaviors including managing emotional
00:31
behaviors and responding to the emotional cues of others.
00:35
So it's really important for social situations.
00:38
Allowing Austin to understand others more clearly
00:41
and to adjust his behavior to fit the situation.
00:45
His development is most rapid from about six months
00:48
to two years and is almost entirely dependent
00:51
on experience.
00:54
Mom's interpretation of his expressions
00:56
and vocalizations really help the development
00:60
of this pre-frontal cortex.
01:03
The way she interprets his behavior
01:05
influences his response.
01:08
You're shaking your head like Zeb.
01:10
Is that what Zeb does?
01:13
Shakes his head, doesn't he?
01:15
Rather than smiling at any adult's face,
01:17
smiling has now become specific and personal
01:21
and is now a response to communicate a pleasurable emotion.
01:28
Austin can now laugh.
01:31
It begins as a cross between a frightened cry and a smile.
01:37
When mom throws him in the air, he sees
01:39
that she's smiling and is to be trusted.
01:43
So the wail combines with smiling to produce a laugh.
01:56
The game of peek-a-boo involves mom's disappearance
01:60
and sudden reappearance.
02:02
The suspense and surprise can be both
02:04
exciting and upsetting.
02:06
Peek-a-boo!
02:09
Austin squeals with delight.
02:12
Where's mommy gone?
02:14
Where's mommy gone?
02:16
Peek-a-boo.
02:17
The repetitive nature of the game
02:19
encourages turn taking.
02:21
Mom hides and appears.
02:23
Peek-a-boo.
02:25
Austin responds
02:26
and then they repeat the sequence.
02:28
Where's mommy gone?
02:31
Peek-a-boo.
02:33
This is also the way conversations work.
02:37
Peek-a-boo.
02:38
Playing games is an excellent way
02:39
for Austin to learn.
02:43
Watch how mom copies Austin's position.
02:45
So letting him know that she's very interested
02:47
in what he's doing and at the same time
02:49
is smiling and talking about it.
02:55
Ba ba ba.
02:59
She's mirroring him physically
03:00
and emotionally.
03:03
As Austin struggles to stand,
03:05
mom's voice goes lower.
03:06
Ah look at that, that's it.
03:10
And raises when he succeeds.
03:11
Wow, look at you.
03:16
That good.
03:18
You're standing up.
03:21
Her sensitive reactions to him
03:23
corresponding with his own behavior
03:25
help make him feel understood.
03:28
Ba ba ba.
03:31
And so, interactions to playing games
03:34
that babies can have these lovely feelings
03:36
that the chemicals in the brain
03:39
that are to do with positive feelings
03:41
it almost bathes the whole brain
03:43
in it and actually helps forge
03:46
these really positive connections through all the parts
03:49
of Austin's brain and for any baby really these particular
03:54
sorts of interactions are so important for them.
03:56
So they get to know the feelings
03:59
that they have which are positive feelings
04:01
and they're the ones that they begin to relate
04:03
to their experiences and that helps them begin
04:06
to understand what their world is like.
04:08
It's not going to be all positive of course.
04:11
But what you hope is that most of the time
04:14
Austin is going to and that the babies
04:16
are going to be receiving positive communications
04:19
in response to the way they're reaching
04:21
out to their carers.
04:23
That's a bit adventurous.
04:24
Ba ba ba.
04:25
As well as hearing the sounds and intonations
04:27
that mom makes, he's now experimenting
04:29
with more sounds himself.
04:32
His babbling started with other sounds.
04:34
Now he's beginning to use consonants.
04:37
He makes "ba ba" sounds and mom repeats them.
04:42
Ah ah.
04:46
Ba ba ba ba.
04:49
Ba ba ba ba.
04:54
Ba ba ba ba.
04:56
At this age there's lots of games
04:59
that mom can play with Austin to encourage
05:01
his communication further.
05:07
He likes musical rhymes and this,
05:09
together with his increasing control over his body,
05:13
make this very exciting for Austin.
05:15
♪ When all the cows were sleeping ♪
05:17
♪ And the sun has gone to bed ♪
05:20
♪ Up popped the scarecrow ♪
05:22
♪ And this is what he said ♪
05:23
♪ I'm a dingle dangle scarecrow with a flippy ♪
05:26
He's enjoying the way mom plays with him
05:28
so much that he's learned how to tell mom
05:30
that he'd like to do it all over again.
05:33
Again?
05:35
Again?
05:36
Ah.
05:39
She gives him plenty of time to answer
05:41
and take the initiative.
05:43
♪ And the sun has gone to bed ♪
05:44
♪ Up pops the scarecrow ♪
05:45
It's the repetition, rhythm
05:47
and rhymes of the games, the pitch of mom's voice
05:50
and her expressions, the excitement and anticipation
05:53
of what's coming next that makes his interactions
05:56
interesting to Austin, motivating him to listen
05:59
and join in.
06:02
The linking of all emotive communication
06:05
all come together for Austin as he takes
06:08
in the emotional feel of the interaction.
06:11
Are you having a ride?
06:13
Information from all of these experiences
06:16
arrives in the brain at different speeds.
06:19
Emotional information being processed faster
06:21
than cognitive.
06:25
These games are helping him to get the whole picture
06:27
and understand how more complex interactions work.
06:31
♪ Horsey horsey don't you stop ♪
06:34
The connections Austin makes
06:36
help him to bring together his own modes of communication.
06:40
When Austin lifts to sitting, he remembers a game
06:43
he's played before.
06:45
You wanna go?
06:48
There you go.
06:51
He moves back and forth
06:54
and mom realizes what he wants.
06:56
What are you doing?
06:60
♪ Row row row your boat ♪
07:02
♪ Gently down the stream ♪
07:04
♪ Merrily merrily merrily merrily ♪
07:06
♪ Life is but a dream ♪
07:12
Ba ba ba.
07:16
Ah ba ah ba.
07:17
Oh what a beautiful song.
07:22
You're a good singer.
07:24
Whoo.