Posts Tagged ‘bookstart’

The rhyme and reason for early intervention

27/01/2011, 07:00:55 AM

by Peter Watt

We need to intervene much earlier in a child’s life if we are to reverse the impact of poor parenting. This is the key message set out in Graham Allen MP’s recent report Early intervention: the next steps. It finds that:

“babies are born with 25 per cent of their brains developed, and there is then a rapid period of development so that by the age of 3 their brains are 80 per cent developed. In that period, neglect, the wrong type of parenting and other adverse experiences can have a profound effect on how children are emotionally ‘wired’. This will deeply influence their future responses to events and their ability to empathise with other people”.

And the report makes clear the consequences of poor parenting:

  • A child’s development score at just 22 months can serve as an accurate predictor of educational outcomes at 26 years.
  • Some 54 per cent of the incidence of depression in women and 58 per cent of suicide attempts by women have been attributed to adverse childhood experiences, according to a study in the US.
  • An authoritative study of boys assessed by nurses at age 3 as being ‘at risk’ found that they had two and a half times as many criminal convictions as the group deemed not to be at risk at age 21. Moreover, in the at-risk group, 55 per cent of the convictions were for violent offences, compared to 18 per cent for those who were deemed not to be at risk.

The report, commissioned and welcomed by the government, calls for cross-party acceptance of the benefits of early intervention. It also asks all parties to accept that late intervention is expensive and ineffective. A further report setting out funding options is promised in the summer. (more…)

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