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1ABSTRACT of the first paper: Effects of the Firstart Method of Prenatal Stimulation on Psychomotor Development: The First Six Months, explored the effectiveness of the Firstart prenatal stimulation method applied to a sample of maternity patients at University Hospital "La Fe" in Valencia, Spain. Both groups of women, (71 control and 101 experimental) were enrolled in the birth preparation class provided at the hospital. Chi-Squared statistical tests indicated that both groups were comparable in a number of variables. In both groups more than 90% were married or living in stable relationships and both groups had similar child birth and life experience records. The mothers in the experimental group wore a waistband equipped with small speakers connected to a tape recorder which played a series of eight tapes of violin sounds. Mothers exposed the unborn babies to an average of 70 hours of music from about 28 weeks gestation to the end of pregnancy. After birth the "Observational Scale of Development" originated by F. Secadas was used by Mothers to chart developmental behaviors from 0 to 6 months. On 22 items of the scale, behaviors of the experimental babies were significantly advanced from those of the control group.

ABSTRACT: In a previous paper, we reported the developmental advantages found in the first semester of life, in a sample of babies that had been prenatally stimulated using the Firstart program. In this paper we offer the results obtained comparing the control and the experimental groups in the second semester of life. Although children in the experimental group are again more advanced than children in the control group, in some behaviors related to memory, fine motor activities, gross motor activities, cooperation in learning, imitation, and self-recognition, the advantages at this age level are fewer than at the preceding level.


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M. J. Lafuente, Ph.D., R. Grifol, Ph.D., and D. Rios, R.N.

Dr. Lafuente works in the Department of Developmental and Educational Psychology at the University of Valencia, Spain. Dr. Grifol and Ms. Rios work in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at La Fe Hospital in Spain. Direct correspondence to: Almirante Cadarso No. 19, 9 d Valencia 46005, Spain. Email: Maria.J.Lafuente@uv.es

Appendix I Observational Scale of Development from 6 to 12 Months (adapted from F. Secadas 1988, 1992)

1) Takes things that he/she wants when in reach and does it purposely

2) Sitting upright without support, turns head to either side

3) Hits table with a spoon, imitating another person

4) Starts to pick objects that are far away

5) Responds differently to known and unknown people e.g. smiles more to people known

6) Recognizes the actions that precede going for a walk

7) Follows with the eyes the fall of objects

8) Changes objects from one hand to the other

9) Enjoys throwing everything to the floor

10) Shakes something if it makes a noise, e.g. a rattle

11) Can stay sitting upright for a few instants without any support

12) Jumps up and down when supported under arms on a hard surface

13) Moves hand towards the mirror to touch own image

14) Looks for an object seen being hidden or pushes aside obstacle to reach it

15) Pulls at a pillow or tablecloth to bring object laying on it closer

16) Hits objects e.g. a drum, or two spoons, to hear sounds

17) Takes two objects one in each hand

18) Holds a feeding bottle or a glass with both hands

19) Starts to crawl or to slide on bottom

20) Takes part in games e.g. "peek-a-boo"

21) Plays with moving objects on the surface of the table

22) Picks up small objects using thumb and forefinger

23) Learns to clap hands

24) Inserts finger into slots/holes

25) Stands up leaning on the railing of the playpen or the crib

26) Closes and opens mouth imitating another person

27) Learns to kiss

28) Links syllables e.g. da-da-da

29) Understands and responds to a prohibition (No!)

30) Imitates words e.g. mummy

31) Imitates sounds e.g. "prrr"

32) Drinks from a cup or a glass when helped to hold it

33) Can sit for 10-15 minutes without support

34) Can sit unaided after crawling

35) Cries when mother leaves

36) Looks attentively at the drawings in a book

37) Overcomes obstacles by going around them

38) Can walk, when held by both hands

39) Tries to imitate a scribble

40) Tries to eat using a spoon

41) Imitates the "Five Little Wolves" (Spanish nursery rhyme with gesticulation)

42) Crawls backwards

43) Cries when told off/rebuked

44) Listens to music attentively

45) Uncovers a box to take out a toy that was seen being put into it

46) Sits in front of the mirror and looks at own image

47) Gives an object, when someone says, "give it to me," hand out-stretched

48) Says one word besides of daddy and mummy

49) Scribbles

50) Inserts objects into slots and holes

51) Takes toys to pieces

52) Drinks from a glass, holding it with both hands

53) Stands up by leaning on something and then lowers again unaided

54) Moves by grasping the furniture

55) Can walk when held by only one hand

56) Stands up unaided

57) Takes some little steps unaided

58) Collaborates when is dressed

59) Answers when someone says his/her name

60) Says two words in addition to daddy and mummy

61) Climbs on a chair to reach something

62) Rings the doorbell if it is within reach

63) Makes a two blocks high tower

64) Discerns different noises e.g. plane, car, door

65) Understands and executes simple orders e.g. put that away

66) Stands up with agility without any support

67) Walks unaided more easily, but with knees still a little rigid

68) Recognizes some drawings

69) Imitates some chores e.g. sweeping, washing

70) Points at something that he/she wants

71) Says words to name something, by its sound e.g. rin-rin for bell

72) Asks someone to do something: open, take, give me

73) Turns lights on and off

74) Unwraps a sweet, peels a banana (when first cut made)

75) Asks for food, water, and the bathroom

76) Makes a three blocks high tower

77) Walks easily

78) Climbs stairs, holding the banister, and putting two feet on each step

79) Usually able to remain toilet trained during day

80) Points at parts of the human body: eyes, mouth, feet, etc

81) Says three words in addition to daddy and mummy

82) Plays, simulating things: e.g. feeding dolls, fight between two dolls

83) Says two word sentences: e.g. daddy car

84) Dresses unaided if clothes are simple

85) Comes down stairs holding the banister

86) Runs