Topic: toxic stress

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Toxic Stress Derails Healthy Development

This 2-minute video explains how toxic stress can weaken the architecture of the developing brain, with long-term consequences for learning, behavior, and both physical and mental health.

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From Best Practices to Breakthrough Impacts

This report synthesizes 15 years of dramatic advances in the science of early childhood and early brain development, analyzes evidence generated by 50 years of program evaluation research, and presents a framework for driving science-based innovation in early childhood policy and practice.

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Excessive Stress Disrupts the Architecture of the Developing Brain

This working paper from the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child defines the concept of toxic stress—what happens when children experience severe, prolonged adversity without adult support.

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

This working paper from the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child explains why young children who experience severe deprivation or neglect can experience a range of negative consequences.

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InBrief: The Science of Neglect

This 6-minute video explains why significant neglect 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.

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Social and Behavioral Determinants of Toxic Stress

In this science talk, David Williams looks at the social and behavioral factors that play a role in triggering toxic stress for children and adults.

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InBrief: The Science of Early Childhood Development

This brief explains how the science of early brain development can inform investments in early childhood. These basic concepts, established over decades of neuroscience and behavioral research, help illustrate why child development—particularly from birth to five years—is a foundation for a prosperous and sustainable society.

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ACEs and Toxic Stress: Frequently Asked Questions

What are Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)? In this infographic and FAQ, learn about ACEs and toxic stress, and how to prevent or reduce their lasting harm.

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Training Module: “Build My Brain”

With lessons on brain architecture and toxic stress, the “Build My Brain” course connects the science of early childhood development to work in early childhood education, public health, and social services.


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InBrief: Applying the Science of Child Development in Child Welfare Systems

The healthy development of all children is essential for a thriving and prosperous community, and we now know a great deal about how child development works, as well as how to prevent and address problems. So, how can we use insights from cutting-edge science to improve the well-being and long-term life prospects of the most […]

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InBrief: The Impact of Early Adversity on Children’s Development

This brief explains how providing stable, responsive, nurturing relationships in the earliest years of life can prevent or even reverse the damaging effects of early life stress, with lifelong benefits for learning, behavior, and health.

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Two trucks and a crane moving boxes from one truck to the other

What We Can Do About Toxic Stress

Making sure every community has the resources to foster a strong support system is one of the ways we can help to promote resilience, as well as prevent the potentially harmful effects of toxic stress. Those who’ve experienced toxic stress know best the toll it can take on the body and brain. But experiencing it is never the whole story. There are many supports that can help ease the burden and prevent toxic stress from leading to bad outcomes.

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Persistent Fear and Anxiety Can Affect Young Children’s Learning and Development

This working paper from the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child explains how early exposure to circumstances that produce persistent fear and chronic anxiety can have lifelong effects on physical and mental health.

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A Science-Based Framework for Early Childhood Policy

This report provides a framework for using evidence to improve child outcomes in learning, behavior, and health.

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The Science of Early Childhood Development: Closing the Gap Between What We Know and What We Do

This report outlines seven core concepts of development, and explains their implications for policies and programs that could significantly improve children’s lives.

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InBrief: The Impact of Early Adversity on Children’s Development

This video from the InBrief series outlines basic concepts from the research on the biology of stress which show that major adversity can weaken developing brain architecture.

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Three Core Concepts in Early Development

This three-part video series 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.

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The Toxic Stress of Early Childhood Adversity: Rethinking Health and Education Policy

Toxic stress is the subject of this on-demand webcast from The Forum at the Harvard School of Public Health. The discussion featured Center director Jack P. Shonkoff; Robert W. Block, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics; and Roberto Rodríguez, Special Assistant to the President for Education Policy in the White House. Launched in 2010, The Forum seeks to provide decision makers with a global platform to discuss policy choices and scientific controversies.

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Child Development Core Story

This educational video series on the importance of the early years was created by the Project for Babies, a former initiative of the University of Minnesota Center for Early Education and Development.

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Training Module: Health Care Practitioner Module and Resources

The Florida State University Center for Prevention and Early Intervention Policy (CPEIP), working in collaboration with the Center on the Developing Child and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), developed these Early Childhood Health Optimization resources for pediatricians, OB/GYNs, and Care Coordinators across the state of Florida. Available free of charge via CPEIP’s website, the resources include an interactive, multimedia module (approximately 52 minutes) and discussion guide introducing practitioners to the science of early childhood development, toxic stress, executive function, resilience, and mental health.

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