A - Z OF TOPICS - BRAIN DEVELOPMENT

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Baby brains are amazing! Research in neurology in the past 15 years has shown that infants are born ready to be able to communicate. At birth they have millions of neurons loosely connected and by the age of three they have built up trillions of connections. How these 'pathways' are formed literally shapes the child's relationship with the world. Loving, warm, safe care promotes trust, empathy, strong social bonds and a capacity for good relationships.

Children who are abused, neglected, criticised, hurt or ignored end up with responses that defend them but are not helpful for joining in with the wider world. Pathways of early responses affect the deep brain and can set patterns for life - e.g. being fearful as a baby can can leave a child with anxiety which makes it hard to listen when he/she gets to nursery or school. Children accustomed to violence may become very vigilant and defensive which leaves them unable to concentrate or cope with relationships.

Other useful links:

  • Dr. Bruce Perry has diagrams, articles and other links at www.childtrauma.org

  • Dr. Suzanne Zeedyke, University of Dundee, is one of Scotland's leading experts on the development of brain pathways. One of her articles is available as a lecture for the 'What About The Children' charity - www.whataboutthechildren.org.uk

  • The WAVE Trust describes the link between poor infant experiences and future violence. Professor David Howe has also written extensively on this topic and the effects on children of poor early care. Play Talk Read is a good Scottish initiative to make the best of this exciting period of development - www.playtalkread.com

Information from Teenage Brain Interest Session

  The Teenage Brain
  The Teenage Brain Explained