Once your newborn starts going through their early milestones, each new behaviour seems to amaze. Your baby reaches for your hand, holds your gaze, and your heart melts. Being a new parent is filled with awe-inspiring moments, but it also comes with important responsibilities. It’s important for parents to pay close attention to infant warning signs concerning development.
Infant warnings signs: Hand preference and your newborn’s development
In toddlers and older kids, there are signs of giftedness parents look for. These include rapid learning, an impressive vocabulary for their age, sharp memory, and ability to reason effectively.
But what about newborns?
Some believe that hand preference in infants is an early sign of genius. However, new research is emerging that says it could also signal developmental delays.
First, let’s take a closer look at some common theories about hand preference.
Early hand preference and creativity
Many believe that hand preference can provide clues as to a child’s brain function. It’s commonly thought that right-handed kids are more analytical, while left-handed kids are more creative. But neither of these claims have been proven scientifically.
Past studies have attempted to shed more light into the true links between handedness and a child’s cognitive abilities. Many believe that left-handedness is a disadvantage. Others think there is a link to creativity.
Early hand preference and advanced language ability
Another study also claims that a clear hand preference in infancy hints at more advanced language abilities as a toddler.
It’s also believed that left-handed children are more creative and emotionally expressive. But this widely held belief still needs to be investigated more.
Early hand preference and learning
Left-handedness is believed to be quite telling in the toddler or preschooler years when it comes to mathematical ability.
Some studies show that hand preference emerges early based on genetics. According to a study published in Developmental Psychobiology, hand preference depends on the task at hand. For example, a child may use the left hand more when lego-building or the right when eating.
Early hand preference and social behaviour and health
Before the age of one, however, hand preference could be one of the infant warning signs that warrant a visit to your child’s paediatrician.
Infant warning signs: Don’t ignore hand preference before the age of 1
Before your newborn turns one, having a more dominant hand could signal motor or neurological developmental delays.
Take the case of a nine-month-old boy who showed unequal hand movements early on. Upon having an MRI examination, researchers found he had cortical dysplasia, or early signs of epilepsy. The child was eventually diagnosed with cerebral palsy.
Early signs of cerebral palsy:
- Aside from early hand preference, cerebral palsy also manifests early on through hypotonia (poor muscle strength or Flappy Baby Syndrome).
- Oral motor dysfunction could also provide important hints.
- Other signs of cerebral palsy include not reaching important milestones on time. For example, being unable to roll over at four to six months or sit up without support by age eight months could be signs.
Watch your newborn closely, mums and dads! Do they tend to favour one hand over the other? Then consult your paediatrician immediately. Hopefully, it’s nothing serious, but it pays to be extra careful.