Studies prove that premature babies show less interest in others

Studies prove that premature babies show less interest in others

A study by the Kyoto University has identified the reason for why premature babies pay less attention to others as compared to their full-time counterparts. Read on to know more about the ways to develop attentiveness in your kids

Paying attention to others is a fundamental trait of a child's early social cognitive development. However, a new study has found that premature babies show different traits and often lack the ability to be attentive to others.

What the study says

Researchers at the Kyoto University, Japan, found that premature babies find less interest in others as compared to others born full-term. They observed children between the ages of six and 12 months for the purpose of this study.

The study has shed new light onto developing social communication skills and ultimately autism (recent studies show that kids born prematurely are at a greater risk of autism).

In a statement released by researcher Masako Myowa-Yamakoshi, says that preterm babies are at an increased amount of stress in the early days of birth, since the environment is different from that in the womb.

Lead author Masahiro Imafuku was reported as saying that a lack of interest in another person, for instance, could be an early sign for whether preterm infants are following a path toward atypical social development. "We examined interest in social stimuli in preterm and full-term babies by following their gaze with an eye tracker," he explained in his statement.

Read: 5 early signs of autism in toddlers

The research process

The study took place in two parts.

  • While in the first part the researchers observed the infants' gaze for preferred geometric shapes and videos. Here, the full-time infants showed interest in videos, while premature babies showed interest in geometric motions.
  • In the second part of the research, the researchers observed infants' gaze of other people in the videos. Here. full-time babies were able to follow other people's eyes but premature babies found it difficult.

The study found conclusive evidence to prove that premature babies had a difficult time socialising and paying long-term attention to others. But this skill can still be worked on, with patience and perseverance.

Developing social skills in children

There is no 'one pill for all' formula that works to help children develop social skills. However, you can try the following ways to help your child develop better social skills and attentiveness.

  • Work on one task at a time: Help your child to concentrate on the task at hand so that it increases his/her attentiveness and focus towards that particular task. Trying to avoid multitasking is the key here.
  • Make eye contact: Ask your child to make eye contact as he speaks to you and subsequently follow this up with whomever he may speak with. This will provide a philip to better interpersonal relationships. This also shows that you are keen on the conversation and makes one a good listener.
  • Avoid interruptions: Help your child to learn that interruptions should not stop his conversations with people. Interruptions could be due to cel phones, television or even somebody who randomly disrupts his discussion.
  • Repeat what you hear: Ask your young one to repeat what he hears so he can develop focus and attentiveness to what others are saying. Make sure it is not patronising or robotic but sounds genuine.

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(Image courtesy: Newshealthadvisor, Fornaxindia)

Written by

Deepshikha Punj