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´╗┐Increasing A Child's Visual And Creative Development

from: Jim Holden - Staff Writer

The visual world of infants is a "booming and buzzing confusion", as the 19th century psychologist and philosopher William James said. As soon as babies are born, their vision undergoes many rapid developments during the first year.

Images that appear gray or hazy and out of focus in the first few weeks, become more defined and colorful in the next months. When these blurs start to become clearer to the child, that is when the journey toward creativity and visual development begins.

Vision also plays a vital role in brain growth during the first year, and a child's visual faculties are one of the most important factors in developing their creativity. In defining the word creativity, it is meant that the infant is able to distinguish and identify what they see, and attribute what they do actually see, to particular objects.

To an infant this is what creativity is about. Ninety percent of information entering the average human brain is visual, so providing the proper visual stimulation therefore is vital, since healthy vision leads to baby's future overall mental and physical well being.

Infants may appear to lack co-ordinated eye movement, and may also appear cross eyed over the first few months. They are born with the ability to focus at close range however, to about nine to twelve inches, which is about the distance between a mother's face and the baby in her arms.

Experts say that babies are able to follow or track an object in the first few weeks,and by six months of age, the visual and creative system is nearly adult like in it's function. As a matter of fact infants can see about 20/400 after birth, then 20/40 by age one. Focus improves over the first 2 to 3 years, and eventually approaches normal 20/20 vision, but the most dramatic change occurs during the first eight months.

Newborn babies can distinguish light from dark, but they cannot see all colors, and their ability to distinguish between colors will not be fine tuned until they are around three months old. This is why many baby books and infant stimulation toys have distinct black and white patterns. Large black and white patterns present the highest possible contrast to the eye and therefore are the most visible and attractive to babies.

High contrast encourages visual and creative development, and also encourages physical movement like wiggling kicking and arm waving. However recent studies have shown that babies can also distinguish shades of gray, usually by about two months of age. Then, the baby becomes capable of perceiving almost all of the subtle shadings that make our visual world so rich, textured and interesting.

Also scince there is a part of the human brain that is dedicated solely to facial recognition, newborn babies are naturally drawn to human faces, and this specific recognition mechanism is one of the first indicators of creativity building in a child, which also
helps to form a bond between the mother and child, particularly during breastfeeding.

Also around the age of two months, infants can recognize facial features such as the eyes and the mouth, and at four to five months, they can distinguish their mother's face from other people around them. As creativity begins with visual stimulation, it is the duty of every caregiver or parent, to expose their kids to all sorts of colors and images from early on in their lives, in order for the child to be equipped with the proper skills, once the stage of actual creation comes.

This is usually at an age of two to three years old, as what creativity is for infants, is an awareness that a lot of images and colors do actually exist, and which is then followed by their ability to further develop as they grow older.

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