A Model for Using Developmental Science to Create Effective Early Intervention Programs and Technologies to Improve Children's Developmental Outcomes

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Contribution to Books

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Children born with a variety of environmental or medical risk factors may exhibit delays in global development. Very often, such delays are identified at preschool or school age, when children are severely overdue for effective early interventions that can alleviate the delays. This chapter proposes a conceptual model of child development to inform the creation of interventions and rehabilitative technologies that can be provided very early in development, throughout the first year of life, to optimize children's future developmental outcomes. The model suggests that early sensorimotor skills are antecedent and foundational for future motor, cognitive, language, and social development. As an example, this chapter describes how children's early postural control and exploratory movements facilitate the development of future object exploration behaviors that provide enhanced opportunities for learning and advance children's motor, cognitive, language, and social development. An understanding of the developmental pathways in the model can enable the design of effective intervention programs and rehabilitative technologies that target sensorimotor skills in the first year of life with the goal of minimizing or ameliorating the delays that are typically identified at preschool or school age. Specific examples of early interventions and rehabilitative technologies that have effectively advanced children's motor and cognitive development by targeting early sensorimotor skills and behaviors are provided.


New Methods and Approaches for Studying Child Development is volume 62 of the Advances in Child Development and Behavior book series.