The brains most crucial development time is when you are a baby. The brain evolves rapidly and the environment in which it develops has a direct effect on the child emotional, social and intellectual development. We know that the years before preschool
are vital to brain development.
Researchers once believed that a child’s brain was complete when they were born. It was a common belief that genetics were the sole determining factor on intelligence and brain capacity. Modern research has proven this wrong and shown that the environment in which a child is raised had a direct influence on the development of the brain.
There are many outside influences that are known to have a negative impact on the brains development. Toxins, infection, malnutrition, exposure during pregnancy to drugs and premature birth have all been shown to have a negative impact on the development of the brain. Additionally abuse and neglect are also major factors in the capacity of a brains development. Much more is known about what holds the brain back developmentally than we know about what to do to boost brain development.
The first three years of life are the most crucial. In a setting where they are exposed to negative developmental factors a child born with a normal IQ may never achieve their full potential. One that is exposed to negative factors but experiences and intervention may be able to catch up their peers though with property intervention. This ability of the brain to be able to recover is very promising for children in less than ideal environments and shows us the importance of a healthy, nurturing environment for children. This is great news for those with learning disabilities
because we know that the brain is flexible and can overcome delays. This is also great news for those with brain injuries because we know that we can help the brain overcome a lot of the trauma.
By the time a child is in kindergarten
a lot can be done to intervene in the development of the brain. This, when done properly and with care, can help a child in school. We all know that if the child gets a great start in elementary school
, they have a foundation for life. This starts in the womb and carries on for a lifetime.
Policy makers are faced with a difficult task, they must translate how to make brain research policies beneficial to children. Scientist have much more knowledge on how the brain develops than how to change or enhance it. This would lead one to think that public policy should focus on helping to eliminate the factors that inhibit brain growth such as biological and social conditions.
They cannot over stress the importance of those first crucial years though, lest it lead to neglect of the necessary environment in other times of development. Such as the importance of prenatal care when the brain is particularly vulnerable while first developing or during adolescence which is another time of significant growth.