Perception and sensory organs play an important role in the mental and physical development of a child. Even newborns are basically well equipped for this. They can see, hear, taste and smell. They feel when they are touched, held, carried or moved. However, individual senses are developed to different degrees. This is mainly due to the brain. It must first learn to process sounds and other impressions correctly. Already at birth the senses of touch and hearing are fully developed. Nevertheless, children still hear differently than adults. It is similar with vision. At the beginning, babies perceive their environment only blurred and dimly. The visual acuity and the interaction of both eyes must first develop. Parents cannot speed up these processes. However, you can support your child by engaging with them and giving them a variety of stimuli. It's also important that you take advantage of your paediatric checkups. Possible hearing or vision disorders can thus be detected and treated at an early stage.
In the first year of life, the ability to see develops enormously. After birth, babies can first of all perceive and distinguish different brightness levels, patterns and shapes. Human faces are particularly interesting to them. They prefer to look at the faces of their parents, with whom they specifically seek eye contact. At the beginning, babies can see best at a distance of 20 to 25 centimetres in front of their eyes. Most parents often take this distance on their own when they are engaged with their child and talking to them. At about three to four months, vision develops with both eyes. This means that in the brain the information provided by both eyes now merges into one image. This is also the beginning of spatial vision. The baby can now see objects that are a little farther away and can follow movements with their eyes. At the age of seven to eight months, the children show clear interest in their surroundings. They now recognise things out of their reach and reach out specifically for them. At one year old, children already have half the visual acuity of an adult.
Even newborns can pick out human speech from a variety of sounds in their environment. Soon after birth, your baby will be able to distinguish your voice from that of others. It prefers to hear your voice and the voices of people they knows. Babies are happy when to be talked to and have songs sung to them. This not only promotes the development of hearing. It also helps babies develop an interest in learning to talk. From the age of about three months, children usually try out their own voice. They also make different sounds. They squeal, hum, laugh and scream. They also start responding to statements from you with sounds of their own, just like in a conversation. Good hearing is an important prerequisite for your child to develop normally. The newborn screening for hearing is available to all newborns. Congenital permanent hearing disorders can be detected at an early stage by this examination and, in most cases, successfully treated. However, a hearing impairment can also occur at a later stage, for example as a result of an infection. That's why it's important to pay attention to whether your child hears well. Whenever you suspect that your baby has hearing problems, you should have it checked out by your paediatrician.
Children learn to speak on their own. However, when and how quickly this happens varies greatly. In the first months of life, they develop a better and better ear for the melody of speech, for individual sounds and the intonation of words. At the same time, children playfully test the organs and muscles that are important for speech. These are, for example, the diaphragm, the vocal cords, the lips and the tongue. In the beginning, the muscle movements are rather random. As soon as they can control these movements better, however, the children make their first specific sounds. Some children speak their first word as early as nine months. However, some take their time until they are about two and a half years old. The individual phases and their sequence are nevertheless similar for all children. Most start speaking their first words when they are a year or a year and a half old. As a rule, these are the words mum or dad. Next, children begin to name what they see, hear, or do. At first, they usually mean more than the mere word implies. For example, the word ball can mean, depending on the situation, that your child wants the ball or wants to play with it. But it can also mean that the ball is gone. From what children hear in their environment, they deduce the rules of language for themselves. Sometimes there are disturbances in the process. The earlier they are detected, the more successfully a child can be helped to develop speech. To do this, it's important that you take advantage of all the free paediatric check-ups.