Friday, 10 July 2015

Parenting across Scotland to support brain development

According to Professor Phil Wilson, the social, emotional and cognitive wellbeing of children in the early years are the strongest determinants for how long they will live and how their lives will be. On average, children from more affluent backgrounds live longer. The statistic is used to justify early intervention; but all the statistic really shows is that for some children things just do not improve.

The argument was ramped up in Parenting across Scotland: supporting families to support children by referring to early brain development. 

"The Scottish Government is committed to introducing a national parenting strategy and making Scotland the best place in the world to bring up children. If the government stated its intention to intervene in the economics of the country, to improve the nation`s health, to prevent crime or to educate its young,  people would regard these as natural functions of government. And yet, the very mention of a national parenting strategy, is likely to bring with it knee-jerk accusations of `nanny state`... "

"There is substantial evidence that investing in the early years yields rich economic savings in years to come. The Scottish Parliament`s Finance committee and the Scottish Government`s own economic modelling have shown the value of investing in early intervention in the early years."

"The early years are considered to be a significant time for brain development. But beyond the cold justification of economics and neuroscience, surely it is simply wrong that, by the age of three, large numbers of children in Scotland are already at a disadvantage to their peers?"

In other words, children from disadvantaged backgrounds have damaged brains.

 But academics in the field of research dispute this claim.

"The typical inadequacies of early years can be addressed later in life," says neuroscientist Stuart Derbyshire.

"Any descent into antisocial behaviour, crime, educational failure, poverty or negative physical or mental health cannot be explained away as the inevitable consequences of irreparable brain damage caused by early years deprivation."

Here he is talking about the subject.

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