Wednesday, April 15, 2009

MYELINISATION

By Dr James Dobson

Have you wondered why an infant is unable to reach out and take hold of an object or control the movement of his hands or feet?

It’s because the human nervous system is inadequately insulated at birth, and the electrical impulses are lost on their journey from the brain to other parts of the body.

Gradually, a whitish substance called myelin begins to coat the nerve fibers, allowing controlled muscular action. Myelinisation typically proceeds from the head downward and from the centre of the body outward. So, a child can control the movement of his head and neck before the rest of the body, and the shoulder before the elbow, wrist, or fingers. This understanding of myelin is very important for the parents of boys, who are slower to develop. Because a child’s visual apparatus is among the last to be insulated, that can render a boy or girl unable to read, write, or spell for a time. This helps explain why late bloomers often have early learning problems in school.

But our culture permits few deviations from the established timetable. This is why I favour holding an immature child out of school for a year or home-schooling him or her for a few years. Be careful what you demand from a child who is slow to develop. It may be physiologically impossible for them to keep up with their peers.


From TODAY, Voices – Wednesday, 15-April-2009
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