This small sample and short longitudinal study (12 weeks) adopted a Randomised Cluster Control Trial (RCCT) to test the hypothesis that the mental (cognitive), motor and social (communication) development of healthy newborn babies would be facilitated by systematic ‘hands-on exploration’ of Neo-hapy as measured by the Bayley (III) Scales of Infant Development Screening test. Neo-hapy is a novel manual stimulus medical device developed after many trials demonstrating that haptic touch or active touch occurs before 4 months; a new phrase was coined ‘neo-haptic touch’ to describe it. Eight newborn infants (equal numbers of males and females in each group) were recruited, from a single hospital in the West Midlands County. Following Ethics Committees’ approval they were visited and used either Neo-hapy or a Regular interactive object, at home twice a week for 12 weeks.
Results revealed that, compared with babies who used a Regular interactive object, those who used Neo-hapy had higher cognitive, motor and communication development scores at week 6 and 12 of life; there were no significant differences on baseline measurements. A constructivist approach to perception is used to explain results which suggest that systematic community programmes promote neonatal health and development.