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The wonder year – introduction

This section welcomes Orson into his family, emphasising his complete dependence on his parents as well as letting us see that he enters the world equipped with a basic ‘tool box’ of skills. These provide him with a ‘kick start’ in making sure that he gets the care he needs. We look at the development of Orson’s senses, what he can see, hear, taste and smell. We examine his in built reflexes of sucking, rooting, startle and we also explore how Orson recognises Mum and Dad.

Good for looking at

  • Birth
  • Baby
  • Brain development
  • Senses
  • Parents
  • Child development
  • Breast feeding
  • Family
  • Bonding
  • Early attachment relationships
  • Innate reflexes
00:26
This film follows the journey of Orson
00:28
during his first year of life.
00:31
It's a fascinating journey
00:33
and shows just what an amazing amount of change
00:35
and growth occurs during this special time.
00:40
We'll show you how Orson and his family
00:41
learn about one another,
00:44
how he learns about his world
00:46
and most magically,
00:47
how his experiences will literally
00:50
and uniquely shape his brain.
01:09
Why are we as babies born so helpless and vulnerable?
01:14
And one of the answers
01:16
is that sometimes given is a physiological one,
01:19
which is if our heads were any bigger,
01:22
then we couldn't actually be born the way we are naturally.
01:25
But that still doesn't answer
01:27
why over the millennial of evolution,
01:30
do we remain so helpless and vulnerable when we're born?
01:34
And perhaps the answer lies in the fact that we're such
01:37
social beings because that ensures that we do have
01:42
a relationship right from the very beginning
01:45
with someone who is going to talk to us
01:47
and be with us and help us.
01:56
Although he's totally dependent on mum and dad,
01:60
he's born with behaviors that help to ensure his survival.
02:04
Part of the brain, the brainstem is already wired
02:07
and although fragile, it's allows us to react automatically.
02:12
It regulates core bodily functions like breathing,
02:15
heart rate and temperature.
02:29
Orson also has a number of reflexes.
02:32
Look how he reacts to mum when she strokes his cheek.
02:38
He turns towards her breast and opens his mouth.
02:41
This is the rooting reflex.
02:45
Orson flings out both of his arms
02:47
when he feels like he's going to be dropped.
02:51
This is a reaction to danger called the startle reflex.
02:58
He can suck strongly.
03:03
Along with other reflexes,
03:05
they are all basic survival mechanisms
03:08
and arise from when all sun was in the womb,
03:10
as various neural pathways were being laid down
03:13
in the brain.
03:15
He just reacts automatically to information he received
03:18
from his senses.
03:21
These five senses are how he experiences the world.
03:26
He can already differentiate tastes
03:28
and his sense of smell is very well developed.
03:31
He's very sensitive to touch and can feel pain.
03:35
Loving touch actually helps his development.
03:38
When he's held in dad's arms,
03:40
he's safe and warm.
03:42
He can relax.
03:44
His breathing deepens
03:46
and the heart rates even synchronize.
03:50
This is Austin's brother, Seb.
03:54
You think he's smiling?
03:56
He's smiling?
03:57
Humans are social beings
03:59
and babies are born with preferences
04:01
that help ensure they have social interactions
04:04
right from the start.
04:04
Oh, I don't have teeth,
04:06
please give me teeth.
04:08
You know what he's thinking?
04:09
No.
04:10
"I know that voice."
04:12
Orson can hear well
04:13
and likes the sound of human voices.
04:17
He prefers the frequency of the female voice the best.
04:20
He's become familiar with his family's voices in the womb,
04:23
especially moms.
04:30
He also has visual preferences.
04:34
He likes moving objects and loves looking at faces
04:36
and making eye contact.
04:39
Orson is perfectly able to focus on dad's face
04:41
at this distance.
04:46
He's absolutely transfixed.
04:50
Dad is equally interested in Orson's face.
04:56
So babies are born within built behaviors
04:58
and are primed for social interaction
05:01
and as long as he has mom and dad to help him,
05:03
he has the means to survive.