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Child Dev. Ch. 6

Vocabulary, Infant Physical and Brain Growth

Pincer Grasp An advanced form of grasping, acquired at around age 1, in which the thumb and the forefinger are used to hold small objects.
Normative Charts Graphic representations of the stages or milestones children pass through as they develop.
Tracking The ability to visually follow a moving object with one's eyes. Tracking becomes smoother and more accurate during the first 6 months of life.
Scanning The visual ability to look over all the features of an object and to get a complete picture of what it is like. Babies become competent in scanning an entire object by 3 months of age.
Visual Cliff A research apparatus designed to show that babies have depth perception. Babies are encouraged to crawl out over a clear plastic surface that appears to be a deep drop-off; if they do not, depth perception can be inferred.
Neurons Cells in the brain that transmit and retrieve messages to and from all organs and muscles.
Dendrites Elongate tissues on a neuron that receive messages from the axons of other nerve cells.
Axon A long thread of tissue that extends from the cell body of a neuron and sends messages to the dendrites of other nerve cells.
Neurotransmitters Chemicals secreted from neurons that are responsible for transmitting messages from one cell to another in the nervous system.
Synapse A juncture between the axon of one neuron and the dendrites of another through which neural messages are transmitted.
Myelin A fatty sheath that surrounds the axon and ensures that signals travel efficiently, quickly, and accurately.
Frontal Cortex A region of the brain that develops rapidly at 8 months of age and is associated with the ability to express and regulate emotions.
Brain Lateralization The organization of the brain into right and left hemispheres, with each hemisphere performing unique and specialized functions.
Super-Dense Infant Brain The brain of the infant, which grows more rapidly and has more connections among nerve cells than an adult brain.
Cortisol A hormone that increases in the body with stress and threatens infant brain development by reducing the number of synapses and leaving neurons vulnerable to damage.
Visual Impairment A condition characterized by blindness or severely limited vision that can impair motor, cognitive, and other areas of development.
Hearing Impairment A condition caused by a variety of factors that is characterized by deafness or severely limited auditory perception and can lead to language, motor and other developmental delays.
Total Communication A system of communication in which manual signals, such as sign language, and informal gestures, and facial expressions, are used along with verbalizations to communicate with children with hearing impairment.
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