Brain Development and Trauma

Improving early brain development.

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A child’s brain development grows rapidly before they are even born and in early childhood. Brain development is dependent on many factors including healthy nutrition, a safe environment free of stress, and their experiences with other people and the world. A nurturing and responsive home, free from neglect and chronic stress is key for their brain development and growth. Children should be able to play, explore, interact with others, be spoken to with lots of interaction, and responded to sensitively.

Resources for Early Brain Development and Trauma

Early Brain Development


A child’s brain development grows rapidly before they are even born and in early childhood. Brain development is dependent on many factors including healthy nutrition, a safe environment free of stress, and their experiences with other people and the world. A nurturing and responsive home, free from neglect and chronic stress is key for their brain development and growth. Children should be able to play, explore, interact with others, be spoken to with lots of interaction, and responded to sensitively.

Early Brain Development and Health >>




Early Intervention


In the first few years of a child’s life, over a million new neural connections are formed every second! Early interaction with adults is key to a child’s brain growth. Read Harvard's resource: The Science of Early Childhood Development >>




ACEs


Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) is the term used to describe all types of abuse, neglect, and other potentially traumatic experiences that occur to people under the age of 18. About the CDC-Kaiser ACE Study >>




Trauma-Informed Care


A trauma informed child and family service system is one in which all parties involved recognize and respond to the impact of traumatic stress on those who have contact with the system including children, caregivers, and service providers. Programs and agencies within such a system infuse and sustain trauma awareness, knowledge, and skills into their organizational cultures, practices, and policies. They act in collaboration with all those who are involved with the child, using the best available science, to maximize physical and psychological safety, facilitate the recovery of the child and family, and support their ability to thrive. Go to The National Child Traumatic Stress Network | Trauma-Informed Care >>




Resiliency


Resilience is the ability to overcome adversity. Recent studies suggest that children with at least one caring, stable adult in their life can lead resilient, successful lives even if they must overcome serious trauma and/or hardships. Safe, stable and nurturing relationships can often lessen the consequences of ACEs. Balancing ACESs with HOPE >>




Toxic Stress


"If left unaddressed, toxic stress can affect growth, learning, behavior, immunity, and even genes. Kids who are exposed to very high doses of adversity without the support of a loving and caring adults can have more than double the lifetime risk of heart disease and cancer and a nearly 20-year difference in life expectancy. They’re also at greater risk for depression, obesity, substance abuse problems, smoking, lung problems, and teen pregnancy, along with other chronic illnesses down the road. If your child has been exposed to adversity, know you’re not alone. Roughly half of the children in the United states have had potentially life-altering traumatic experiences. But there’s good news: Research shows parents can be the most powerful force in preventing or even reversing the impact of toxic stress in their children. That’s why we’re on a mission to help." Learn More at StressHealth.org >>