How To Teach Your Baby To Be Physically Superb

From Birth to Age Six

By: Glenn Doman, Douglas Doman, Bruce Hagy

Published: 2006

Read: 2020


A child’s mobility competence is linked to the development of his brain. So, if you want to help improve a child’s mobility, help him develop his brain.

A child’s brain develops by using it. So, provide opportunities (challenges) for the child to use his brain and learn. You need to match learning opportunities to each developmental stage of the brain.

You can use the book’s scorecard to select appropriate learning and mobility challenges. The scorecard tracks six core mobility functions: walking, talking, writing, reading, hearing, feeling. These functions are tracked across seven developmental stages (from birth to age 6).

The mobility scorecard measures the child’s neurological age (compared to his chronological age). You can use the scorecard to compare a child to his peers and track his progress in time.

Worth Reading

A quirky, free-wheeling read. There are many interesting and unique observations. The core message of human potential is uplifting.

The book is based on very specific research into child brain development. The authors are founders of The Institutes, a group of non-profit organizations focused on child brain development. Much of its research is related to programs that help brain-injured children.

Its methods can be eccentric. Not everyone will be convinced to build a wooden baby crawl track around their bed. Or swing around infants while they wear neck braces to prevent neck injuries. Parts of the book may need updating. There are several pictures of babies happily sleeping on their tummy. Not so good for SID.

At the same time, part of the charm of reading this book is its cultish language and eccentric suggestions.

Key concepts

Measuring physical intelligence

  • The urge to move is at the root of all human abilities.
  • The ability to move regulated by the brain.
  • Score-card of physical intelligence:
    • Seven successive stages of brain developments.
    • Six inter-related bodily functions.
  • Score-card provides 42 measurements (6 x 7).
    • Benchmark to compare chronological versus “neurological” age.
    • Compare mobility competence against peers.
      • Individual children tend to grow at different rates for each of the 42 areas.
    • Compare mobility competence over time.

Seven successive stages of brain development

  • Between birth and 6 years of age.
  • Newborn:
    • Age: 0
    • Brain: medulla (spinal cord and lowest part of the brain).
  • Infant:
    • Age: 0 – 2.5 mts.
    • Brain: pons (above medulla, below mid-brain).
  • Tiny baby:
    • Age: 2.5 -7 mts.
    • Brain: mid-brain (over the pons, under the cortex).
  • Baby:
    • Age: 7 – 12 mts.
    • Brain: initial cortex (outer layer of the brain).
  • Tiny child:
    • Age: 12 – 18 mts.
    • Brain: early cortex.
  • Little child:
    • Age: 18 – 36 mts.
    • Brain: primitive cortex.
  • Child:
    • Age: 36 – 72 mts.
    • Brain: sophisticated cortex.

Six inter-related bodily functions

  • Three unique motor functions of human cortex.
    • To walk, run, jump: upright, cross-pattern of opposite limbs moving together.
    • To speak: invented, symbolic, visual language arrived at in agreement and convention.
    • To write: invented, symbolic, visual language arrived at in agreement and convention.
  • Three unique sensory abilities.
    • To see: read invented, symbolic, visual language.
    • To hear: invented, symbolic, visual language.
    • To feel: identify an object by feel alone.

Improving mobile competence: help the brain to develop.

  • Brain growth and development a product of use.
    • In the same way as muscles grow by use.
    • Help baby to use, understand and develop existing reflexes.
  • The sooner babies get the opportunity to use their brain, the faster they develop.
    • Match opportunities to learn with each developmental stage.
  • Create ideal opportunity to learn.
    • Frequency.
    • Intensity.
    • Duration.
  • Give the infant “needs”.
    • Place objects slightly out of reach, but not out of range.
    • Continually expand the distance.
    • Make sure the reward is worth the effort.


  • Ideal environment for crawling: floor.
    • Safe.
    • Clean.
    • Warm.
    • Smooth.
    • Pliable.
    • Flat.
  • Strong relationship between crawling and development of near-point vision.
    • Crawling forces infant’s eyes to converge at distance of about 18 inches.
    • We need near-point vision for most of the things that matter (reading, writing, etc.).
    • “Civilization is 18 inches long”.
  • Crawling and crying.
    • Fast, deep respiration of crying provides additional oxygen.
    • Infants need deeper, faster breathing in order to crawl…


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