Temperament and Behavior

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1. Activity Level. In clinical practice the activity level of the child can be assessed by asking parents how much their child moved about as a baby, whether the child was restful or fitful during sleep, (i.e., how much indisarray the crib sheets or blankets might have been), and whether the child could be left lying on something momentarily without fear that he/she would move around and fall.

2. Rhythmicity. Questions pertaining to ease of regulating are involved indetermining the rhythm cycle of the child. Did the child feed, have bowel movements, go to sleep at predictable times, or he/she highly variable?

3. Adaptability. What was the behavior of the child like when something new occurred (e.g., when unexpected company arrived, when changes inthe child's bedroom, or moving to a new home occurred)?  Did the child warm up quickly to new people or new foods, or did take awhile? If it took awhile, then how long?

4. Approach-Withdrawal. How did the baby or child react to introduction of new people or surroundings? Was there little reaction, were there mild to moderate behavioral upsets, or did the child like it?

5. Threshold Level. Was the child sensitive to loud noises, foods, textures of clothing, heat or cold? How responsive or aware was the child to environmental sounds such as the telephone or a siren? Describe any intense likes and dislikes the child might have had.

6. Intensity of Reaction. Did the child react to pleasure or displeasure ina loud or quiet way (e.g., if she did not want a particular food, how would she behave?)? Did the child whimper, cry or protest loudly, smile, coo, or laugh loudly to situations, people, foods?

7. Quality of Mood. Was the child mostly happy and contented or just the opposite? How did parents know when the child was content or liked something and when the child disliked something?

8. Distractibility. If there were environmental stimuli such as noise or people entering the room, did the child stop his or her activity or continue it? Could the child be easily distracted when sucking, feeding, or crying?

9. Persistence and Attention Span. How long did the child normally stay with activities? If the child dropped a toy, did he/she persist intrying to retrieve it or give up easily?


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