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Helping Your Baby to Reach Out

1. Give your baby lots of close physical contact. Your infant may enjoy being carried about in a "snuggle sack."

2. Create interesting midline (vertical center line of child's body) space in varied situations so that your baby's movement will bring him into contact with things to touch and hear.

When baby is

Lying in a crib - dangle toys from cradle gyms and mobiles so that they are within reach.

Sitting at a low table or in a highchair - place toys on a rimmed tray so that reaching to midline guarantees rewarding object.

Sitting independently or playing in a playpen - place interesting toys within reach.

3. Play patty-cake and other hand and finger games that encourage hands at midline.

4. Place baby's hands on bottle when being fed.

5. Provide objects of various textures and shapes, and encourage your baby to touch and explore.

6. Encourage your baby to search for an object that has been withdrawn slightly from touch.

7. Encourage your baby to reach toward the sound of a familiar toy, first at midline, and then at various points within reaching distance.

8. To help your baby understand that spatial information can be gained through sound:

Place a rattle or bell in your child's hand or around his wrist or ankle and alternately move his hand or foot and then keep it still.

Slowly move a sound-making toy, keeping it within reach of your baby, and encourage her to find it.

9. Talk to your baby about his activity, naming the objects he contacts and the actions he performs.

10. All of these suggestions are meant to be fun for you and your baby. Enjoy your play!

Extracted from the study "The Development of Reaching in Blind Children As It Reflects Object Permanence," Hatem, G., Hyrnan, N., Keith, E., Maida, S., Rogone, S., Saar, M.

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