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KEY POINTS: BRAIN DEVELOPMENT

  • The brain develops in a predictable fashion - from most primitive to most complex.

  • Normal development of neuronal systems (and functions they mediate) requires specific patterns of activity - specific 'signals' - at specific times during development.

  • These critical periods are windows of vulnerability during which the organizing systems are most sensitive to environmental input - including traumatic experience.

  • Because the different systems in the brain develop (or mature) at different times in the life of a child, there are different critical periods for different functions (e.g., regulation of anxiety, mood, abstract thought).

  • Because these brain systems develop in a sequential fashion, from brainstem to cortex, optimal development of more complex systems (e.g., the cortex) requires healthy development of less complex systems (e.g., the brainstem and midbrain).

  • Therefore, if the state-regulating parts of the brain (brainstem and midbrain) develop in a less than optimal fashion (e.g., following excessive traumatic experience) this will impact development of all other regions of the brain.

  • The brain remains sensitive (plastic) to experience throughout life - but different parts of the brain are more plastic (cortex) and others less  plastic (brainstem).

Source: Bruce D. Perry

 

What are the implications for parents and carers wishing to
'grow' a healthy child?

 

 

 

 
Lindy Bearup lindybearup@gmail.com
 

Moonyah acknowledges that we work on the land of the Wurundjeri Traditional owners.

 

"Yesterday is already a dream and tomorrow is only a vision,
but today well lived - makes every yesterday a dream of happiness and every tomorrow a vision of hope"
old Sanskrit proverb.