How poverty changes a child’s brain

On Friday, the Globe and Mail published an interesting article about how poverty affects a child’s brain development:

…A developing brain that has been influenced by a stressful or chaotic social environment at an early age may lead to a child with serious attention issues in the classroom years later.

But a behaviour pattern that is perceived as a deficit in the school setting may be there precisely because the child, as an infant, was shaped by social circumstances to pay more attention to distractions that could warn of sudden danger.

“It’s a kind of vigilance – the brain is searching for threatening stimuli to thwart,” Dr. Hertzman says. But the epigenetic fine-tuning comes at a cost, he adds, because the brain is less able to concentrate on high-order functions, such as math or reading.

Investing in the early years of a child’s life pays off many times over for all of society. Read the entire article here.

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