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Child Dev. 1983 Oct;54(5):1156-67.

The impact of temporally patterned stimulation on the development of preterm infants.


To test the efficacy of temporally patterned kinesthetic and auditory stimulation for promoting development of infants born prior to term, 88 preterm infants, below 35 weeks gestation, were assigned to 1 of 4 experimental or control groups. Control subjects received regular hospital care; fixed interval subjects received 15 min of rocking/heartbeat stimulation each hour; self-activating subjects received 15 min rocking/heartbeat when inactive for 90 sec, but only for 1 stimulation period per hour. Assessments included measures of neurological functioning, sleep-wake activity, mother-infant interaction, and mental and motor development at 8 and 24 months. All experimental infants, compared to controls, showed decreased rates of activity while in the hospital, fewer abnormal reflexes, and better orienting responses. At 24 months, experimental infants scored significantly higher on the Mental Development Index of the Bayley Scales. Few differences were found in parent-infant interaction patterns. The results indicate that both temporal patterning and contingent responsiveness in the preterm infant's early environment contribute positively to some aspects of the development of such infants.

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