Ba­bies on brain

Eastern Reporter - - News - Denise S. Cahill

Telethon Kids In­sti­tute have launched a cam­paign to pro­mote re­search on how in­ter­ac­tion with ba­bies and young chil­dren helped de­velop the brain.

TELETHON Kids In­sti­tute (TKI) re­searchers have found that if a child is ex­posed to “toxic stress” such as extreme poverty, ne­glect or abuse, the ar­chi­tec­ture of the de­vel­op­ing brain is weak­ened.

How­ever, the CoLab Ev­i­dence Re­port on ‘Brain de­vel­op­ment in early child­hood’ also dis­cov­ered that the ex­pe­ri­ence of at least one sta­ble and re­spon­sive re­la­tion­ship with a par­ent or care­giver could help pro­tect against the dam­ag­ing ef­fects of toxic stress on chil­dren’s brain de­vel­op­ment.

TKI, which is based at Perth Chil­dren’s Hos­pi­tal, re­cently launched its Bright To­mor­rows Start To­day ad­ver­tis­ing cam­paign pro­mot­ing the re­sults of CoLab re­search on how in­ter­ac­tion with ba­bies and young chil­dren helps de­velop the brain.

CoLab di­rec­tor Donna Cross said the cam­paign trans­lated the ev­i­dence on the im­por­tance of ‘serve and re­turn’ in­ter­ac­tions for life­long de­vel­op­ment, learn­ing and well­be­ing.

“In­fants and young chil­dren nat­u­rally reach out for in­ter­ac­tion – through bab­bling, fa­cial ex­pres­sions and ges­tures, when adults re­spond by ges­tur­ing back the baby learns that ‘I can com­mu­ni­cate’ and that ‘I can be un­der­stood’,” Pro­fes­sor Cross said.

“An in­fant’s con­fi­dence in com­mu­ni­cat­ing with their care­giver, through pat­terns of serve and re­turn in­ter­ac­tions, and the love and un­der­stand­ing es­tab­lish­ing be­tween the care­giver and child cre­ates emo­tional well­be­ing in in­fancy and early child­hood.”

CoLab di­rec­tor Donna Cross.

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