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April 06, 1986|JOANNE ROCKLIN

HOW TO HAVE A SMARTER BABY by Dr. Susan Ludington-Hoe with Susan K. Golant (Rawson Associates: $15.95; illustrated). After the launching of Sputnik, American parents of the '60s and '70s re-examined the education of their children, placing greater emphasis on preschool intervention and intellectual stimulation. Competitive parents of the '80s, heady with the fruits of their own achievements, began to teach their children earlier still--during infancy and even in the womb. Parents have always informally taught children about their world. The big difference today is that several books suggest the use of more formal early instruction.

One such book is "How to Have a Smarter Baby" by Dr. Susan Ludington-Hoe, an assistant professor of maternity/child health at UCLA School of Nursing, written with Susan K. Golant.

"By six months of age, a full 50% of a baby's brain growth has occurred," writes Ludington-Hoe. Using her infant stimulation program for only 15 minutes a day, a baby's IQ, she says, may be increased appreciably.

The book is an extremely clear treatise on infant development and the use of various toys and techniques designed for each stage. Parents are also advised how to make or where to buy suggested developmental toys.

The major flaw of the book is the heavy emphasis on the power of the parent to create a "smarter" baby, and the utter seriousness and non-spontaneity of the suggested play between them. ("Put the rattle slightly behind the baby's head on his right and shake it three times.")

Clinicians of the '80s are treating increasing numbers of children who hate learning. Their parents were unaware that a large portion of intelligence is an outgrowth of a child's own uhurried exploration.

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