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March 1986

Are Infant Stimulation Programs Useful?

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Pediatrics and Neurology, University of Connecticut Medical School, Farmington; and the Department of Pediatric Neurology, Newington (Conn) Children's Hospital.

Arch Neurol. 1986;43(3):282-283. doi:10.1001/archneur.1986.00520030068018

Infant stimulation programs, as defined by Denhoff,1 are "organized programs of enrichment designed to provide developmentally appropriate activities to babies and toddlers who have, or who are at risk for a variety of conditions (environmentally or biologically caused) that might interfere with their ability to ultimately have a full and productive life." The origins of infant stimulation programs for the environmentally deprived child can be traced to two types of observations: supporting the concept that intelligence is malleable. (1) The first intelligence test was established by Binet in the early 1900s. The examination was developed to demonstrate that intelligence was not a genetically fixed quantity but an ability that could be altered positively through a formal education program. In 1964, Project Head Start was launched and successfully has improved reading and mathematic skills for the participating children, at least through the fourth grade.2 (2) Animal studies have

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