The Importance of Childhood Brain Development, Pt. 2
September 30, 2013 by DrDonna
Focus on Early Intervention
Head Start is a governmental program in every major city that caters to disadvantaged moms and their children. The program aims is to provide parents who aren’t middle class or upper class with the resources they need. The assumption is that disadvantaged parents aren’t able to provide enough right brain stimulation to their children as those parents who are privileged. For years, the program has focused on brain-stimulating activities for the young children in the program.
But a problem has surfaced. The children’s higher IQ scores dwindle as the kids progress through the program. Head Start administrators report that this occurs because the children don’t get into the program until the age of three, after the opportunity making permanent changes in the first three years has already passed.
Some education specialists imply that disadvantaged children become brain-damaged and develop more of a propensity for violence and crime. The frightening thing about this line of thinking is that by the time a child goes to school, he or she is too old to truly experience a difference in brain development.
However, from a strictly scientific point of view, there isn’t enough research to back this up. Scientists can’t say exactly how many words your child has to hear to develop a good vocabulary. They can’t say exactly how it’s best to teach your child math before he enters school. And they can’t say how many books your child has to read to develop good reading skills.
There are takeaways from both ends of the childhood brain development spectrum, and there’s one thing both have in common: treatment is not completely futile, and it often results in breakthroughs.
If your child is showing signs of dyslexia or APD at an early age, do something about it as soon as you can. And in the meantime, continue the same daily activities that parents have been doing with their children for decades: spend time with your children, love them, cuddle with them, laugh and sing with them, and read with them.