Janey’s Dance

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Janey’s Dance The Doe household is silent, seemingly without life in all its rooms. Yet listening carefully, a faint sound can be heard leaking from the walls of little Janey’s playroom. Moving closer, the tunes of Lamb-Chops sing-a-long cassette tapes become impeccably clear: “This is the song that never ends . . . “ Peeking inside, not wanting to disturb the natural environment of the 11 month old, we see Janey’s reactions to this “classic” song. She is standing latched onto her chartreuse play table, bouncing up and down and flailing her right arm in an infant’s rhythmic motion. Her mouth is open in a wide, goofy grin as squeaks of happy sounds are released into the air. She is, in effect, dancing to the rhythm of Lamb Chop. What has contributed to Janey’s behavior? How has she progressed from a sedentary, crying newborn to an active, excited infant? There are a few different ways to interpret this developed behavior, stemming from four distinct theoretical frameworks used in the field of developmental psychology. Each model has its own explanation of Janey’s Lamb-Chop dance and all provide important contributions to a justification of this charming behavior. An examination of the infant’s dance from a biological-maturation perspective focuses on the development of Janey’s physical structures and physiological processes that allow her behavior to take place. This activity should not be expected from a three month old because an infant of that age has not experienced the maturational changes in the body and brain that are necessary to facilitate dancing in it’s earliest manifestations. Human development occurs in a cephalocaudal pattern, thereby beginning in the head and working downward from that point. Coordinated muscle movements of the arms are not apparent until approximately three months of age and the same behavior in the legs usually not witnessed until around nine months. To allow movements to occur, an infant’s bone and muscle structures must develop from the soft, thin, fragile structures they are born with. “The bones in the hand and wrist are among the first to ossify” (Cole & Cole, 2001, p.

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