Development at One Year

Documenting the developmental progress of the Gudaga children is one of the primary aims of this Study.  At 12 months each child went to Campbelltown Hospital for a comprehensive health check and developmental assessment by a paediatric registrar.

The Griffith’s Mental Development Scales (GMDS) were used to assess developmental progress. The areas assessed included:

  • gross motor (walking, crawling);
  • self-care and social interaction (ability to feed oneself);
  • hearing and language (use of words);
  • fine motor coordination (able to use a pencil); and
  • performance (ability to solve age appropriate puzzles).

Figure 3 shows that Gudaga Infants were mostly developing within the normal range at 12 months but below the GMDS standard population. The Gudaga infants demonstrated strengths in the area of gross motor skills, however, were below average in all other developmental areas.

Figure 3 Distribution of Gudaga infants’ General Quotient compared to standardised sample

The Study also found development to be lower in families where the mother experienced cumulative family stress or perceived alcohol to be a problem in her household.

The Gudaga Research Team is talking to those working in the area of child health and early education about incorporating a stronger focus on overall child development in their programs. The implementation of a sustained home visiting program for Aboriginal mothers, the Bulundidi Gudaga program, is a significant strategy.