Haptics: Essential Touch of Child Development

1474 Words6 Pages
Ask anyone what the basic necessary elements of survival are and the most common answers usually will be: shelter, food, and water. But one essential element is often left out, and that is the element of touch. This tactile stimulus is called haptics. In this paper, I will first define what haptics is and its relation to child development. Touch is a very important aspect of physical, mental, emotional, and psychological child development. Then I will explore its importance in child development in greater detail. Specifically, I will explore how it can heal and how its absence can negatively influence and even harm developing infants, children, adolescents, and even adults. Finally, I will look at how the communication of touch, and its meanings and implications, are socially constructed. Depending upon our society (and often or structured subgroups within it), we are taught from very young children how to act and feel through the sensory perception and reception of touch. The power of touch is so important that it is essential for the mental, emotional, and perhaps even physical well-being of children. It can heal or it can harm. Regardless, the power of Haptics in the human species is undeniable. Touch is one of our five senses; in fact, it is the first one to develop (Wood 142). We learn through our tactile sense before that of hearing, seeing, tasting, or smelling. Haptics is an essential aspect of child-rearing because it communicates directly with children. Dr. Stephen Juan is an honored and internationally acclaimed Australian physician and medical researcher, and he notes, “research shows that a parent's loving touch may bring unexpected benefits to babies (“The Power of Touch”). Adversely though, Julia T. Wood, a communications expert, comments that, “in disturbed families, mothers tend to push children away, nonverbally signaling
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