Sunday, 25 August 2013

Early Interventions (1)

I refer to the Scottish Government: Early Years and the Case for Action HERE where they claim that there is evidence that exposure to high levels of parental stress, neglect and abuse can have a severe effect on brain development. They go on to say that at age 3 children at higher risk of poor outcomes can be identified on the basis of their chaotic home circumstances, their emotional behaviour, their negativity and poor development.
They confidently assert that these children are more likely to grow into criminals, substance abusers, the unemployed and will more likely experience teenage pregnancies and poor health. They believe the most cost effective way of dealing with these social problems is to improve the early years experiences of these children.
But has the Scottish Government made the same mistake as Iain Duncan Smith whose speeches, as reported in the Guardian 9 April 2010, distorted research on childhood neglect and brain size? He too believes that toddlers can be identified as future criminals. Dr Perry, who worked with neglected children suffering extreme sensory deprivation, is the neuroscientist whose research Iain Duncan Smith quotes. Dr Perry has said in response that it is an oversimplification of his work. 
Undaunted, 20 cities in England, including Plymouth have recently been chosen to work with the Early Intervention Foundation (EIF) to encourage early intervention and prevention work. Although somewhat behind Scotland in the drive towards early interventions this global agenda is being implemented in different ways but with the same political philosophy. As one American sees it, Governments want complete control over all children. 

Quoting from Dave Hodges` blogpost:  "According to a previously unreported Obamacare regulation, that has managed to escape `scrutiny` from the mainstream media, millions of American families will be targeted for home invasion by the forces of the Federal government in the name of preventing parental neglect resulting in disabilities in their children. And the Fourth Amendment be damned, after January 1, 2014, Federal officials may enter your home without a warrant in order to `intervene` for the purpose of saving `high risk` children."

Where is the evidence that mass surveillance of all children and early interventions will work in the best interests of children?  Misquoting neuroscientists just will not do that.


Iain Duncan Smith 'distorted' research on childhood neglect and brain size

Research focusing on effects of extreme abuse was 'grossly misrepresented' by former Tory leader, neuroscientist says

Iain Duncan Smith in Easterhouse
Iain Duncan Smith at an estate in Glasgow. His recent speeches have drawn a link between children's brain development and crime in later life. Photo: Murdo Macleod

"Dr Bruce Perry reacted following comments made by the former Tory leader in which he has suggested children brought up in abusive or neglectful households could develop smaller brains.
In one recent speech, Duncan Smith was recorded on a mobile phone appearing to draw a link between brain development in young children and people committing crime in later life.
Dr Perry, who runs the respected Child Trauma Academy in Texas, said Duncan Smith had "greatly misrepresented" and "distorted" his work."

"His research assessed the brain development of children who suffered extreme forms of neglect – such as those locked in a basement without human contact – and he said it was wrong to apply the findings to children who have undergone far less severe neglect, such as those from broken homes."
Listen to Iain Duncan Smith's comments Link to this audio

"Dr Perry was shown the transcript along with three other examples where Duncan Smith had referred to the relationship between brain size and neglect in childhood, all apparent references to the neuroscientists work. He concluded  Duncan Smith's comments were an "oversimplification" that "greatly misrepresents the way we would explain the impact of neglect or trauma on the developing brain". He added: "to oversimplify this way is, essentially, to distort".

Iain Duncan Smith

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