Babies develop about 80% of their brain growth over the first two years of life. It is when all the connections in the brain (the white matter) which is the cables in the brain, grow and develop and connect to the cortex.
Sometimes doctors will talk about the word neuroplasticity, and neuroplasticity is about strengthening those connections and building those connections. So it's about optimizing all the different things that you do with your baby to improve their motor, speech, and hand function.
To optimize your baby's neuroplasticity, you should be working with your baby so that they're engaged, they're paying close attention, that they're practicing new tasks, and that they are repeating them. The trick is to make the level “the just right challenge”. So it's not too hard, not too easy, so they're working a little bit.
It is important to remember that if your baby has cerebral palsy or has been diagnosed at having high risk of cerebral palsy, they will do all the things that other babies do, but they might just be a little bit delayed, a little bit slower or do things differently. Often they're ready to do the same sorts of skills that other babies do, but they may not responding as quickly, so as parents you will need to wait for them to respond and to give them lots of praise and encouragement.
A great thing to always ask yourself and your team is;
"What's the right thing for my baby to be doing now? What's the next thing they're going to try to do, and how can I help them do it?"
"I think every baby's individual, so you have to really discuss it with your therapist and say, 'What's the right thing for my baby to be doing now?'"