What is object permanence?



Object permanence is your little one’s ability to realize that objects exist even when the object is not seen or heard.  For little ones under six months of age….games such as peek-a-boo can be very exciting and motivating…because as you hide yourself behind your hands or a blanket…..your little one may be thinking that mommy is not there….and then to her surprise…as you say: Peek a Boo!….she smiles and maybe laughs as she wants you to do more!  Do it again mama!   Your little one under six months of age may not have yet mastered the skill of object permanence.  (Object permanence is developed during the sensorimotor stage of child development).  So simple play activities such as peek-a-boo will help your little one in the understanding that objects exist even when not seen or heard.

As children approach the six month mark….they begin to understand object permanence….so if your little one was playing with your iPod….and you really did not want her saliva all over it….you would probably take it away from her…and say something like: “all gone“.   Now before six months of age…she may actually think that it is all-gone….however…closer to the six month mark….she may begin to realize that even though you took the iPod and put it behind your back and said: “all gone“….she will realize that it is still there!…..and may go searching behind your back…searching for the iPod.  There is some research that indicates children at even four months of age have mastered the understanding of object permanence. 

This important cognitive skill is a skill that we look for when doing early intervention evaluations.  With the little ones under a year….I take a small washcloth….show the little one a rubber duck…make it squeak and then as she is watching…I hide it under the washcloth….does she move the washclothdoes she search for the duck….does she understand that even though the duck is hidden…it still exists.


About Kim

My name is Kim Marino and I have been practicing as a licensed speech and language pathologist since 1993. I work on Long Island providing diagnostic evaluations and services to children from birth to age 21. My experience is vast and am proud to say that I work with children that may present with articulation and phonological concerns, oral motor feeding concerns, Down Syndrome feeding, cognitive rehabilitation, auditory processing delays, receptive language delays, cleft palate feeding and sound development and expressive language delays. Most importantly, I am the mother of four amazing children and am happily married to my childhood sweetheart. I feel blessed to have my four children and so lucky to share this journey in life with my husband. I always had it somewhere in my head that I wanted to develop a blog or a website of some sort so that I could provide families with an additional resource....so that parents could help their little ones become a better communicator. And as I was developing this blog....I realized that I also needed to share the stories about my life and my children....and the funny things along the way that help to keep me smiling. Whether you are a working mother or not...finding balance between home, children and life can be a challenge....I hope that my blog helps to bring a smile to your face..and also some tools to help you help your little or big one. I hope you enjoy! Kim
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