Friday, August 19, 2011

Book Review: How Smart Is Your Baby?

How Smart Is Your Baby?
Certainly not a "What-to-expect-during-the-first-year" kind of book. It really is a "what-to-do, how-to-do-and why" kind of book.

If I had read "How Smart Is Your Baby?" by Glenn Doman and Janet Doman when Matthew was a baby, it probably would have been the key to convincing me to take Matthew for a neurodevelopmental evaluation with the National Association for Child Development (NACD) when he was younger than 3.

It is a book I wish I had when Elizabeth was born. There were no therapists to guide me with Elizabeth's specific development. I relied on the notes I diligently wrote and saved when Matthew was a baby. However, even with the developmental knowledge I had gained from Matthew's therapy sessions, I felt like I could have done just a little more with Elizabeth when she was a baby after reading this book and after having Matthew in a neurodevelopmental program. Not that Elizabeth needed extra help, but I could have used more activity ideas with baby Elizabeth and give her an even better foundation for her development.

The authors explain their neurodevelopmental approach when working with babies and children. They talk about designing developmental programs for kids with learning challenges, brain injuries, or diagnoses that caused developmental delays and eventually realized that children without delays can greatly benefit from their approach and techniques as well.

The book certainly offers a seemingly unconventional approach, with activities that I did not learn while Matthew was in Early Intervention (EI), even if I felt that EI was sufficient during that time. Specific activities by area of development including visual, auditory, motor, tactile/ sensory, and language are suggested and illustrated according to the baby's developmental stage, not by age. A recommended amount of time and frequency is assigned to each activity, which makes many of the activities easy to fit into the daily schedule. There are some activities that I personally would be hesitant to do without proper guidance unless I became comfortable enough to attempt.
Overall, I really like this book and I would borrow it from the library again (or buy my own copy) if Matthew and Elizabeth ever have another younger sibling. After implementing Matthew's neurodevelopmental program and seeing progress, this approach makes sense to me. Elizabeth is along for the ride and is benefiting from all we do. Of course, nothing is one-size-fits-all. We all have to do what's best for our own children. But if you have the time, I recommend reading (even just browsing through) this book for a different perspective on development, valuable insights, and interesting ideas.

Have you read it? What did you think?