At the University of Oregon’s Brain Development Laboratory, we study attention in children as young as 3 by measuring the brain’s response to sounds as we ask children to shift their “spotlight” of attention from one side to the other. Shifting this spotlight of attention markedly changes the brain’s response to events in the environment – the brain produces a response to an attended stimulus that is twice as large as the response when it is unattended, and this boost occurs within 1/10 of a second! The ability to focus attention is critical in lifelong learning. We have shown that this enhanced brain response is not present in some young children who are at-risk for academic problems.
A baby’s first words are exciting for everyone. When will it happen? What will your baby say? Here are some language milestones to track your child’s progress.
Unlike some other animals, the brain of a human infant is very immature and isn’t fully adult-like until 25 years after birth. This long period of development means there is a lot of time for children’s experiences to shape their brains, and this is exactly what research has found: In fact, we now know that the architecture of the brain is dependent on the experiences children have. This is called “neuroplasticity,” which refers to how “plastic” or changeable by experience the brain is.
Whether we are dealing with huge problems or everyday hassles, we parents need to keep our cups full. We can’t easily solve long-term serious problems; however, there are small things we can do that help. They don’t have to cost a lot of money or take a lot of time.
It is time to make positive changes in our lives, to view what didn’t go as planned in the previous year as missed opportunities and learn from them. It is our sincere attempt to have a happier new year.
All parents have to manage their children’s behavior, and setting limits is a particular challenge. Parents may find themselves spending much of their day saying “no” to their kids. Sometimes it’s about safety, such as saying “no” to a toddler who is about to walk out into the street. Other times it’s in response to difficult behavior, such as biting or hitting. Sometimes hearing “no” can result in an angry child who may have an emotional meltdown in response. This is stressful for both parent and child.
How much and how well our children learn throughout life is determined largely by the variety of beneficial experiences in which they participate in their first few years of life.
Vision impairment, even small irregularities, can have a profound impact on development. Early diagnosis and prevention are the best approach to infant vision and eye health care because most conditions respond best to early treatment, before additional complications arise.
For young children, the importance of closeness, touch, eye contact and warm exchanges provide a foundation for how relationships look and feel. As children grow, becoming more mobile and interested in others around them, the need for connection and closeness is still at the core of their healthy development and growth.