Take advantage of your child’s early years to feed their brain.

This brief article gives some advice on how to supplement your child’s brain with stimulation that will positively affect their IQ, attention and speech.

You can find the article online at: http://news.cincinnati.com/article/20101014/NEWS0102/10150336/Summit-hosts-education-gathering

Summit hosts education gathering


The most critical period of human brain development is between birth and age 5.

During that time, “What a brain does or doesn’t do literally formats it for the rest of (a child’s) life,” said JoAnn Deak, a Cleveland-area psychologist, educator and author.

She’ll give the keynote address – “Current Brain Research and How it Informs Parenting” – at Summit Country Day School’s Early Childhood Education Symposium, a free, all-day event Saturday.

Thanks to brain imaging, researchers now can observe the physical activity of brains in action, Deak said. That has allowed them to determine when and how environmental factors influence brain development.

Birth to age 3, for example, is a crucial period for the part of the brain that controls language, she said. “So if you’re in an English-speaking world, you want that child to hear a lot of good English, with good pronunciation and grammar and syntax. If we interfere with it during that time, we see that kids are delayed in terms of their talking and reading and writing.”

That’s also why frequent inner-ear infections, which affect hearing, are a concern for children that age.

Research has shown it’s important to stimulate young brains with a variety of activities.

“We have data to say that kids are spending an inordinate amount of time with visual media – TVs, computers, Game Boys – and we’re seeing a lot of issues as kids come into school with auditory attention, with auditory processing (problems). So, if you go on a trip, don’t show a video. Put in a book on tape with a reader that is exciting to listen to.”

Research also shows that “if you learn to play a musical instrument well before you’re 10 years old, it actually increases your IQ up to 10 points.”

The peak times for learning differ for girls and boys, Deak said.

“A boy is probably going to show some good coordination before a girl, because the part of the brain that deals with gross motor (skills) actually becomes ready up to a year earlier in boys than in girls.

“And the part (of the brain) that deals with sounding out words for reading becomes ready in girls six to 18 months earlier than in boys. That’s why we have so many reading problems in boys. We try to get them to do something that their brain isn’t quite ready for. It has nothing to do with intelligence; it has to do with readiness.”




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