Important new research on how poverty and stress impact children — often these two factors can result in a child presenting as having ADHD…we have to work on the environmental stuff that drives a child’s inattentive behavior.
The latest research studies from Harvard University’s Center on the Developing Child demonstrate how “toxic stress” can severely damage children’s minds.
Everyone needs to learn to deal with adversity, says Dr. Jack Shonkoff of the Harvard Center, and some stress is a good learning experience.
But the conditions associated with living in poverty harms children’s development.
“The same brain flexibility, called plasticity, that makes children open to learning in their early years also makes them particularly vulnerable to damage from the toxic stressors that often accompany poverty: high mobility and homelessness; hunger and food instability; parents who are in jail or absent; domestic violence; drug abuse; and other problems, according to Pat Levitt, a developmental neuroscientist at the University of Southern California and the director of the Keck School of Medicine Center on the Developing Child in Los Angeles.
“Good experiences, like nurturing parents and rich early-child-care environments, help build…
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