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The Neurotoxicity of Adversity

by Dipesh Navsaria
March/April 2017
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Article Link: https://www.childcareexchange.com/article/the-neurotoxicity-of-adversity/5023436/

Some children are surprisingly different from others when it comes to their behavior. Child care providers might be taken aback by how reactive one child might be to relatively minor corrections or gentle reprimands for the everyday transgressions that a preschooler routinely makes. Other puzzling differences may present themselves. For example, one child has no problem following a clear set of instructions. But, another is ‘all over the place’ and doesn’t seem capable of keeping more than one step in her head at a time. Indeed, you may wonder about whether even a very young child has attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

The answer is that all of these observations — which are common and have been noted for many years — now have an interesting, newly-clarified biology that helps us understand them. We’ve learned in the last 10–15 years that the very wiring of the neurons in the brain are affected by the experiences a child has in the first thousand days of life. When you understand how that affects the brain, you begin to understand the behaviors you see in front of you.

An infant is born with wiring that allows them to manage the basic necessities: sleeping, feeding, digestion, and so on. A ...

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