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Multimedia
  • NEW VIDEO

    InBrief: The Science
    of Neglect


    Extensive biological and developmental research shows significant neglect—the ongoing disruption or significant absence of caregiver responsiveness—can cause more harm to a young child’s development than overt physical abuse, including subsequent cognitive delays, impairments in executive functioning, and disruptions of the body’s stress response. This edition of the InBrief series explains why significant deprivation is so harmful in the earliest years of life and why effective interventions are likely to pay significant dividends in better long-term outcomes in learning, health, and parenting of the next generation. View video >>

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  • NEW VIDEO SERIES

    Three Core Concepts in Early Development


    1. Experiences Build Brain Architecture 2. Serve & Return Interaction Shapes Brain Circuitry 3. Toxic Stress Derails Healthy Development

    This new, three-part video series from the Center and the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child depicts how advances in neuroscience, molecular biology, and genomics now give us a much better understanding of how early experiences are built into our bodies and brains, for better or for worse. View videos & read more about this series >>

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    EXECUTIVE FUNCTION RESOURCES

    InBrief: Executive Function: Skills for Life and Learning


    Being able to focus, hold, and work with information in mind, filter distractions, and switch gears is like having an air traffic control system at a busy airport to manage the arrivals and departures of dozens of planes on multiple runways. In the brain, this air traffic control mechanism is called executive functioning, a group of skills that helps us to focus on multiple streams of information at the same time, and revise plans as necessary. This edition of the InBrief series explains how these lifelong skills develop, what can disrupt their development, and how supporting them pays off in school and life. View video  >>

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  • Brain Hero


    Following a two-year collaboration with the Interactive Media Division of the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California to develop and test new ways of communicating the science of early childhood development, the Center on the Developing Child has released the collaboration’s first product, “Brain Hero.” This 3-minute video adapts the visual sensibility of interactive game models to a video format. View video & read more >>

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Reports

  • The Foundations of Lifelong Health Are Built in Early Childhood


    A vital and productive society with a prosperous and sustainable future is built on a foundation of healthy child development. Health in the earliest years—beginning with the future mother’s well-being before she becomes pregnant—lays the groundwork for a lifetime of vitality. This report was co-authored by the Council and the National Forum on Early Childhood Policy and Programs.

    Read more & download PDF >>

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  • A Science-Based Framework for Early Childhood Policy


    This ground-breaking framework for using evidence to improve outcomes in learning, behavior, and health for vulnerable children, co-authored by the members of the Council and the National Forum on Early Childhood Policy and Programs. Combining knowledge from neuroscience, behavioral and developmental science, economics, and 40 years of early childhood program evaluation, the authors provide an informed, nonpartisan, pragmatic framework to guide policymakers toward science-based policies that improve the lives of young children and benefit society as a whole. Read more & download PDF >>

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Working Papers
   
     
  • NEW WORKING PAPER

    The Science of Neglect:
    The Persistent Absence of Responsive Care Disrupts the Developing Brain


    Extensive biological and developmental research over the past 30 years has generated substantial evidence that young children who experience severe deprivation or significant neglect—defined broadly as the ongoing disruption or significant absence of caregiver responsiveness—bear the burdens of a range of adverse consequences. This new Working Paper from the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child explains why significant deprivation is so harmful in the earliest years of life and why effective interventions are likely to pay significant dividends in better long-term outcomes in learning, health, and parenting of the next generation. Read more & download PDF >>

    View all resources >>        
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  • Building the Brain's "Air Traffic Control" System


    Being able to focus, hold, and work with information in mind, filter distractions, and switch gears is like having an air traffic control system at a busy airport to manage the arrivals and departures of dozens of planes on multiple runways. In the brain, this air traffic control mechanism is called executive functioning, a group of skills that helps us to focus on multiple streams of information at the same time, and revise plans as necessary. This Working Paper from the Council and the National Forum on Early Childhood Policy and Programs explains how these lifelong skills develop, what can disrupt their development, and how supporting them pays off in school and life.

    Read more & download PDF >>

    View all Working Papers >>
  • Early Experiences Can Alter Gene Expression and Affect Long-Term Development


    New scientific research shows that environmental influences can actually affect whether and how genes are expressed. Thus, the old ideas that genes are "set in stone" or that they alone determine development have been disproven. In fact, scientists have discovered that early experiences can determine how genes are turned on and off and even whether some are expressed at all. This Working Paper summarizes why this growing scientific evidence supports the need for society to re-examine the way it thinks about the circumstances and experiences to which young children are exposed.

    Read more & download PDF >>

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  • Persistent Fear & Anxiety Can Affect Young Children's Learning and Development


    Science shows that early exposure to circumstances that produce persistent fear and chronic anxiety can have lifelong consequences by disrupting the developing architecture of the brain. This Working Paper summarizes in clear language why, while some of these experiences are one-time events and others may reoccur or persist over time, all of them have the potential to affect how children learn, solve problems, and relate to others. Read more & download PDF >>

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About the Council
  • About the Council


    Established in 2003, the National Scientific Council is a multi-disciplinary collaboration of scientists and scholars from universities across the U.S. and Canada designed to bring the science of early childhood and early brain development to bear on public policy decision-making. The mission of the Council is to synthesize and communicate science to help inform policies that promote successful learning, adaptive behavior, and sound physical and mental health for all young children. Central to this concept is the ongoing generation, analysis, and integration of knowledge and the critical task of educating policymakers, civic leaders, and the general public about the rapidly growing science of early childhood development and its underlying neurobiology. Read more about the Council's mission & history >>

    Learn about the Council's members >>

    View & download the Council's publications >>

InBrief: The Science of Neglect

InBrief-The Science of NeglectThriving communities depend on the successful development of the people who live in them, and building the foundations of successful development in childhood requires responsive relationships and supportive environments. Beginning shortly after birth, the typical “serve and return” interactions that occur between young children and the adults who care for them actually affect the formation of neural connections and the circuitry of the developing brain. This two-page summary—part of the InBrief series—provides an overview of The Science of Neglect: The Persistent Absence of Responsive Care Disrupts the Developing Brain, a Working Paper by the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child.

This PDF was designed to be printed on one page, front and back.

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Key Concepts: Toxic Stress

Toxic StressLearning how to cope with adversity is an important part of healthy child development. However, when that adversity is severe, frequent, or prolonged - and occurs in the absence of supportive adult relationships - it can induce a potentially damaging toxic stress response in a child's body and brain. This feature describes toxic stress response; how it differs from two other stress responses, positive and tolerable; and how it can be prevented or even reversed. The page also answers frequently asked questions and provides a list of related reading.

Read more >>

 


About the Council

Find out about the Council’s mission, goals, and history. More >>

Council Members

Learn about the Council's unique, multi-disciplinary, multi-university group of scientists and scholars. More >>

Council Publications

The Council has created a series of publications to marry the science of early childhood and brain development with state-of-the-art communications research designed to effectively translate that knowledge for non-scientific audiences. More >>


Major support for the Council is currently being provided by:
The Alliance for Early Success, Buffett Early Childhood Fund, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, and the Norlien Foundation.