Thursday, July 7, 2011

Resource Spotlight! Neonatal Behavioral Assessment Scale

Do you remember when we talked about Dr. T. Berry Brazelton last week? Well let me tell you about an incredible assessment he developed for infants! You can learn about your infant's type of communication/language through this assessment.

What is the Neonatal Behavioral Assessment Scale (NBAS)?
The Neonatal Behavioral Assessment Scale was developed in 1973 by Dr. T. Berry Brazelton and his colleagues. The scale is a guide that helps parents, health care providers and researchers understand the newborn's and infants language up to 2 months. Although newborns do not speak with words, they are born ready to communicate with body movements, cries and visual responses: all part of the complex language of infant behaviors. Infants are highly capable when they are born. They communicate through their behavior and respond to cues around them, like their parents' faces, but they also take steps to control their environment, such as crying to get a response from their caregivers. Infants are social organisms or individuals with their own unique qualities, ready to shape as well as be shaped by the caregiving environment. 

By the end of the assessment, the trained examiner has a behavioral "portrait" of the infant, describing the baby's strengths, range of individuality, adaptive responses and possible vulnerabilities. Parents can then develop appropriate caregiving strategies tailored to the baby’s specific physical needs and behavioral style. Does the baby like to be handled? Is the baby receptive to social interaction? Does the baby easily calm herself? Parents learn how much support the infant may need at home and how far along the child is at completing her developmental agenda. NBAS enhances the earliest relationship between babies and parents.
I hope you found this information helpful! Tell us what you think about the NBAS! Please comment or ask other questions about child development, child behavior or community resources that you're just DYING to know about! We'll answer them!!!

Reference: Brazelton, T.B., & Nugent, J.K. (1995). The Neonatal Behavioral Assessment Scale. Mac Keith Press, Cambridge.

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