The early childhood in every human’s life, from the first moments of birth until approximately the age of 5 years old, are fundamental for the person physical and mental development. Children’s developmental milestones are essential guidelines for the orthoptic investigation. Cognitive development is an intellectual process which refers to the child’s ability to think, understand and adapt to its environment. It involves a wide range of mental activities such as understanding basic instructions, learning, remembering and expressing thoughts by speech.
According to Piaget’s theory, which is widely adopted, there are two cognitive stages for children aged 6 months to 5 years old: Sensorimotor (0-2 years) and Preoperational (2-6 years). In the first period infants use all the skills they are born with (looking, listening, grasping, sucking) in order to achieve the highest level of understanding their environment. Furthermore, during the second period, they are able to interpret objects symbolically so they develop their memory, language and imagination.
As a child grows up cognitive development keeps changing to a greater level. More specifically:
Infants (6-14 months +)
Perception that is developing in that age is a fundamental cognitive skill and is linked with vision. It is related to the brain’s capability to translate an image. Moreover, infants prefer looking in a striped patt...
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...eir vision. The children in that age get easily bored an especially if they have to read a hole chart with letters, so we can sometimes skip some lines to make the examination quicker. Vestibular system, which refers to the eye movements in the opposite direction of the head rotation and requires a visual acuity chart, can also be tested in that age.
In conclusion, it is necessary to see each child as an individual because not everyone has the same cognitive development in a specific age. Thus, the orthoptic investigation has to be adapted in the child needs. In those ages is very difficult for a child to concentrate in an examination so one thing that always has to be noticed is how long you can keep a child’s attention. The main aim of the examiner is not only to get the right results but also to make the examination interesting and entertaining for the child.
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