According to research from the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University, the first 3-5 years in a child’s life are critical to fostering their healthy development. This is particularly true for children facing major adversity, as persistent stress changes the brain’s architecture, reducing the number of synaptic connections, which are integral to a child’s metal and emotional development, including learning, socialization, adaptation, and coping. Toxic stress derails the healthy development of the brain, putting these children at much greater risk for alcohol and drug use, depression, and cardiovascular disease, to name just a few of the negative consequences, later in life.
To turn the tide, it’s essential for those who work closely with youth to identify and intervene effectively with these children as early in their lives as possible. With this in mind, experts suggest that perhaps developing daycare systems that take this into account and include elements that target specific circuits in a child’s brain to offset the impact of a major adversity could do wonders for helping these children grow into productive, well-adjusted, successful adults.
To hear more about how major adversities impact the brain’s architecture and early interventions to offset that impact, click below for the full video, “The Impact of Early Adversity on Children’s Development”, Harvard University, https://www.gse.harvard.edu/news/09/10/impact-early-adversity-childrens-development