From birth infants use their basic attention abilities to connect and interact with their social and physical environment, starting with paying close attention to their mother's faces and the ability to engage in a proto-convesation.
Infants and toddler's acquire new abilities and skills through active experience; they learn by doing.
Importantly, brain development is promoted when infants and toddlers engage in intentional, goal directed actions: they know what they want and use all their available resources to achieve their goal.
The quality and quantity of infant learning from experience is shaped by:
The opportunities for learning that present themselves during the infant’s day
The way in which the infant engages with each new opportunity, including sustained attention and persistence in pursuit of their goals.
Infants with developmental conditions that affect learning of gross and fine motor skills often need need extra help developing the attention and self-regulation abilities needed for effective learning of motor skills, including infants and toddlers:
- Born pre-term
- At risk for autism spectrum disorders
- With global developmental delay, joint hypermobility, low muscle tone, Down syndrome
- A diagnosis of sensory processing disorder (SPD)