Mercy Health and the Mercy Health Foundation recently teamed up with the Toledo Museum of Art to create a book and make a positive impact on community health.
The Art of Seeing Art for Babies is an art book intended to help improve pediatric patient well-being and to encourage the use of art in their development. It incorporates elements of art, such as color and texture, to give babies hands-on experiences that promote divergent thinking, creativity and the development of neural connections.
Research suggests sensory stimulation at a young age is extremely important for long-term development. When babies are born, they mostly see shadows and darker colors, like black and gray. Fun fact, babies actually see the color red first! When they reach five months old, they can see the entire spectrum of colors. They also prefer faces over other shapes at first.
“[Sensory Stimulation] is beneficial because it helps develop and maintain sensory pathways to help in brain development,” says Kehinde Obeto, MD, Mercy Health pediatrician. “The more these pathways are used, the more permanent they become and so it helps to promote normal development. Sensory stimulation also helps children learn to form attachments to the people around them, like their parents.”
Mercy Health and the Mercy Health Foundation are especially grateful to Marja Lasek-Martin, who donated the funds for this book.
Marja is the daughter of two former Mercy Health physicians, Dr. Konrad Lasek and Dr. Ann Lammers, who passed away in 2004 and 2017, respectively.
Both doctors were avid supporters of the Toledo Museum of Art and passionate for their role as community health care providers. Therefore, Marja was thrilled about the opportunity.
“This is the perfect combination of two passions of two long-time Toledo physicians,” Marja says.
Additionally, Dr. Obeto, who often recommends this book to her patients, says that babies love it.
“It helps children look at life from different angles and perspectives,” Dr. Obeto says. “It helps them focus, build their confidence and problem solve. All of this helps in different aspects of their long-term development.”
The Art of Seeing Art for Babies is available at no cost to the community. They are available to caregivers at the Toledo Museum of Art as a part of the Baby Tour program. In addition, it is available at Mercy Health hospitals, pediatrician offices, and clinics.