“Does Crucial Development Only Occur in the First Two Years of Life?”
The EIF is interested in assessing the scientific foundation for Early Intervention (EI). Through our #ScienceSeries lectures and debates, we are bringing together academics, policy makers and practitioners to clarify the scientific evidence on EI.
Our second #ScienceSeries event addressed long-debated questions on the relative importance of the early years. Much is written about critical brain development in the first few years of life, but what about childhood and adolescence?
Professors Essi Viding and Eamon McCrory delivered a neuroscientific perspective on the issue and Professor John Hobcraft gave his viewpoint from longitudinal studies in childhood and parenting. Chaired by Professor Stephen Scott, the event came to a close with a few key points:
- We need to be modest about what we know
- The brain is particularly responsive to environments and experiences during early development
- Brain development is not on a fixed trajectory after the first two years of life
- There is evidence of continued malleability of the brain during adolescence
- Positive and negative parenting matter a great deal for subsequent child outcomes
- Interventions need to be holistic and cross-generational including parent and child
Watch a short interview with John Hobcraft as he addresses the significance of development in the first two years, and the need for future knowledge.
Slides can be downloaded from the links on the right.
To see further material on Professor John Hobcraft’s studies with the Millennium Cohort Study click here
To read more about Professors Essi Viding and Eamon McCrory’s work with the Development Risk and Resilience Unit click here