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Infant & Toddler Development Part 5: Early Brain Development, Learning, & Mental Health Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service Core In-Service November.

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Presentation on theme: "Infant & Toddler Development Part 5: Early Brain Development, Learning, & Mental Health Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service Core In-Service November."— Presentation transcript:

1 Infant & Toddler Development Part 5: Early Brain Development, Learning, & Mental Health Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service Core In-Service November 25, :00-11:30 a.m. Debbie Richardson Parenting Assistant Extension Specialist Human Development & Family Science Oklahoma State University

2 Introduction 2 Welcome Welcome Centra Instructions Centra Instructions Overview of In-service Overview of In-service Resource Materials Resource Materials

3 In-Service Objective 3 Extension Educators will be able to identify the critical structures, progression and support of brain development, learning, and mental health in infants and toddlers.

4 4 Brain development starts early….  Brain cells (neurons) form in first months of fetal development Born with 100 billion brain cells Born with 100 billion brain cells Enough brain cells to learn just about anything – no more are developed after birth Enough brain cells to learn just about anything – no more are developed after birth Infant-Toddler 5, D.Richardson

5 UNDERSTANDING THE BRAIN Intellect, logic, reasoning Motor areaSensory area Taste Language Vision Balance Speech Hearing Emotional Regulation Infant-Toddler 5, D.Richardson

6 6

7 Brain Connections Brain Connections 15,000 synaptic connections for each cell. 15,000 synaptic connections for each cell. Signals can be sent to other cells at speeds of more than 200 mph. Signals can be sent to other cells at speeds of more than 200 mph. Connections (synapses) grow and change as a result of stimulation from the environment. Connections (synapses) grow and change as a result of stimulation from the environment Infant-Toddler 5, D.Richardson 7

8 8 Early Experiences are Crucial Most brain cell connections are made in 1st year. Most brain cell connections are made in 1st year. By age 3, 80% of synaptic connections are made. By age 3, 80% of synaptic connections are made. Connections decline after this time to age 10. Connections decline after this time to age 10. During first 10 yrs, brain is twice as active as adults. During first 10 yrs, brain is twice as active as adults. Then growth levels off & pruning begins. Then growth levels off & pruning begins Infant-Toddler 5, D.Richardson

9 9 Use it or Lose it What is not used is pruned. What is not used is pruned. What is used develops stronger connections. What is used develops stronger connections. Develops in “spurts” when the brain is best equipped to learn certain skills. Develops in “spurts” when the brain is best equipped to learn certain skills Infant-Toddler 5, D.Richardson

10 Human Brain at Birth 6 Years Old 14 Years Old

11 11 5 Days 2 Months 1 Year 28 Years

12 12 Early Brain Development Behavioral and brain development are interrelated. Behavioral and brain development are interrelated. Depends on interaction of many factors: genetics, experience, relationships, health, and nutrition (nature and nurture). Depends on interaction of many factors: genetics, experience, relationships, health, and nutrition (nature and nurture). 60% of nutrition is used by the brain during the first year --- decreases to 30% by age 3. 60% of nutrition is used by the brain during the first year --- decreases to 30% by age Infant-Toddler 5, D.Richardson

13 13 Early Brain Development Quality of relationships and experiences in first 3 years has deep and lasting impact on how the brain gets “wired”. Quality of relationships and experiences in first 3 years has deep and lasting impact on how the brain gets “wired”. Sets foundation for development in every aspect of life. Sets foundation for development in every aspect of life. Most developmental achievements occur naturally. Most developmental achievements occur naturally. Progresses in a non-linear fashion. Progresses in a non-linear fashion Infant-Toddler 5, D.Richardson

14 14 “Windows” of Learning  Periods when particular experiences are especially important or when some skills are more easily developed.  Typically moderate to long periods.  Some windows should not be missed… if so, opportunity to learn can be greatly diminished Infant-Toddler 5, D.Richardson

15 15 Brain Development: Windows of Opportunity By age 2 – emotional control By age 2 – emotional control By age 2 – social attachment By age 2 – social attachment By age 5 – motor development By age 5 – motor development Birth to 10 years – language skills Birth to 10 years – language skills Birth to 4 years – visual development Birth to 4 years – visual development Birth to 4 years – math and logic skills Birth to 4 years – math and logic skills 3 to 10 years – music 3 to 10 years – music Infant-Toddler 5, D.Richardson

16 Infant-Toddler 5, D.Richardson

17 Abstract thought Concrete thought Logic/ReasoningAffiliationAttachment Contextual Memory Sexual Behavior Emotional Reactivity ArousalAppetite/Satiety Motor Regulation Blood Pressure SleepTemperature Heart Rate Breathing FOREBRAIN Cortex “Executive Center” MIDBRAIN Limbic “Emotional Center” HINDBRAIN Cerebellum & Brainstem “Alarm Center” 17

18 18 Brain Hemispheres Left side --- positive emotions, language, approaching new situations or ideas. Right side --- negative emotions, intense emotions, creativity. Right hemisphere has growth spurt in first 1½ years, and is dominant for first 3 years. Early attachment experiences may impact development of the right brain. Healthy right brain activity supports mental health throughout lifespan Infant-Toddler 5, D.Richardson

19 D eficits that occur in the early years may be overcome with later enrichment, though the process will likely be more difficult. Among the most important windows are those involving emotional and social development. Brain has and can recover over time. D eficits that occur in the early years may be overcome with later enrichment, though the process will likely be more difficult. Among the most important windows are those involving emotional and social development. Brain has plasticity and can recover over time.

20 20 Two Basics the Developing Brain Needs Safety Safety Positive Experiences Positive Experiences Infant-Toddler 5, D.Richardson

21 …on brain growth, development and behavior during pregnancy, infancy or early childhood: Inadequate nutrition Inadequate nutrition Drugs Drugs Alcohol Alcohol Toxins (smoking, lead, chemicals) Toxins (smoking, lead, chemicals) Infant-Toddler 5, D.Richardson

22 Lack of critical early nurturing Lack of critical early nurturing Chaotic and cognitively impoverished environments Chaotic and cognitively impoverished environments Pervasive physical threat Pervasive physical threat Watching violence Watching violence Early, frequent, and Early, frequent, and intense stress Infant-Toddler 5, D.Richardson

23 23 Stress & Development When stressed, brain releases the chemical Cortisol. When stressed, brain releases the chemical Cortisol. High levels of Cortisol can slow brain development and child may experience more cognitive, motor, and social delays. High levels of Cortisol can slow brain development and child may experience more cognitive, motor, and social delays Infant-Toddler 5, D.Richardson

24 24 A Safe Environment for Brain Development  Reduce stress by making child’s world safe, secure and responsive.  Remove any physical threats.  Responsive to crying.  Predictable daily routines. Adequate nutrition & hydration. Adequate nutrition & hydration Infant-Toddler 5, D.Richardson

25 25 Positive Experiences for Building the Young Brain Loving care & touch Loving care & touch Consistent, individual attention Consistent, individual attention Everyday, simple activities Everyday, simple activities Exposure to new experiences Exposure to new experiences Understand child development Understand child development Talking Talking Music Music Limit television Limit television Balance – pay attention to the whole child Balance – pay attention to the whole child Read and respond to child’s cues Read and respond to child’s cues One size doesn’t fit all One size doesn’t fit all Know child & what he/she is capable of doing Know child & what he/she is capable of doing Infant-Toddler 5, D.Richardson

26 26 Stimulation Overstimulation may result in frustration, stress, or withdrawal. Overstimulation may result in frustration, stress, or withdrawal. Too many new experiences at once may be overwhelming and won’t help development. Too many new experiences at once may be overwhelming and won’t help development. Child needs time to process what he/she has learned. Child needs time to process what he/she has learned Infant-Toddler 5, D.Richardson

27 27 Learning Children with a secure bond to caregivers are more ready to learn. Children with a secure bond to caregivers are more ready to learn. Children learn by doing. Children learn by doing. Fancy, expensive toys, videos, and flash cards are not necessary. Fancy, expensive toys, videos, and flash cards are not necessary. Repetition in a variety of ways Repetition in a variety of ways – modeling, actions, verbally, etc Infant-Toddler 5, D.Richardson

28 28 Language Children exposed to lots of language in reading, singing, and talking develop more neuron connections in the brain area that handles language. Children exposed to lots of language in reading, singing, and talking develop more neuron connections in the brain area that handles language. Children not involved in lots of verbal interaction have brains that are measurably less developed. Children not involved in lots of verbal interaction have brains that are measurably less developed Infant-Toddler 5, D.Richardson

29 29 Thinking Exposure to lots of language is directly linked with advanced thinking skills. Exposure to lots of language is directly linked with advanced thinking skills. Toddlers understand and can solve more difficult problems at a younger age than children in poor quality environments. Toddlers understand and can solve more difficult problems at a younger age than children in poor quality environments Infant-Toddler 5, D.Richardson

30 30 Physical Activity Toddler brains thrive with the opportunity to climb, play, splash, and run. Toddler brains thrive with the opportunity to climb, play, splash, and run. Exercise actually causes the parts of the brain that control movement to develop more neuron connections. Exercise actually causes the parts of the brain that control movement to develop more neuron connections. For example, leaving a child in a playpen or in front of TV all day slows motor development. For example, leaving a child in a playpen or in front of TV all day slows motor development Infant-Toddler 5, D.Richardson

31 31 Emotional Control Brain development helps determine a person’s emotional tendencies. Brain development helps determine a person’s emotional tendencies. Infants raised with inconsistent routines, changing caregivers, and stressful environments are more anxious, impulsive, may be less caring toward others, and have fewer problem- solving skills. Infants raised with inconsistent routines, changing caregivers, and stressful environments are more anxious, impulsive, may be less caring toward others, and have fewer problem- solving skills Infant-Toddler 5, D.Richardson

32 Infant/Early Childhood Mental Health Infant-Toddler 5, D.Richardson 32 Synonymous with healthy social and emotional development. Capacity to experience, regulate and express emotions. Infant characteristics – biological influences, individual differences. In various contexts within which caregiving takes place – social & cultural. Focuses on unfolding infant-parent relationship.

33 What Science Tells Us Infant-Toddler 5, D.Richardson 33 Early relationships have permanent effects on brain development, health, and later mental health. Social-emotional and physical health are inseparable in the very early years. Responsive caregiving can mediate the effects of some chronic health conditions, e.g., prematurity, poverty. Social and emotional development is strongly linked to success in school (and beyond). Intervention can be effective; children and adults can recover.

34 34 7 Essentials for Early Development 1. Encourage exploration. 2. Mentor in basic skills. 3. Celebrate developmental advances. 4. Rehearse and extend new skills. 5. Protect from inappropriate disapproval, teasing, neglect, and punishment. 6. Communicate richly and responsively. 7. Guide and limit behavior; teach what is acceptable. (Ramey & Ramey, Right From Birth, 1999) Infant-Toddler 5, D.Richardson

35 Wrap-up Infant-Toddler 5, D.Richardson 35 Questions Discussion In-service evaluation Follow-up Next Session Part 6: Influences & Outcomes, December 2

36 References 36 In addition to the provided resource materials listed on the in-service agenda, other reference materials used for this presentation are available upon request. In addition to the provided resource materials listed on the in-service agenda, other reference materials used for this presentation are available upon request.


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