Six degrees of separation: Child care to economics

Harvard professor Dr. Jack Shonkoff recently told Maine business leaders that early childhood experiences are essential to future economic growth. Dr. Shonkoff believes that healthy childhood interactions in the early years of life and a stress-free environment are essential to the child’s later ability to be a productive member of society. He says that early life stress is “absorbed in your body” and can lead to later learning and health problems. Poverty was cited as a major life stress in the lives of children.

Dr. Shonkoff urged business leaders to invest in early chlidhood education in order for the state remain competitive globally.

You can read more here.

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Anatomy of Fitting In (Episode 84)

Coolest Kid in Town by cubworld

Doctors Brian and Giuseppe talk about fitting in, belonging, rejection, and cliques.

Why do kids join groups of jocks, goths, or geeks?

What if your child is rejected by their group?

Find out what we think this week!

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Website of the WeekWebsite of the Week: University of Minnesota Children’s Hospital

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Looking Back: Nostalgia's Effects on the Self

SouthamptonUniversity of Southampton psychologist Constantine Sedikides and his colleagues conducted an experiment to look at the effects of nostalgia on people’s sense of loneliness and social support. Historically, nostalgia has often been viewed in a negative light. It has been seen as an a way of living in the past and as an impediment to hope and the future. However, Sedikides’ research suggests that nostalgia can have positive effects as well.  In his study, researchers induced nostalgia in their participants by asking them to recall past events.  The participants who did this reported higher self-esteem and increased feelings of being loved and protected by others. At the same time, the researchers found that people who reported feeling lonely were also more likely to report low levels of social support and more likely to engage in nostalgia. Considering these results as a whole, Sedikides and his colleagues speculate that nostalgia can help mitigate loneliness in people who have little social supports.

Autism Treatments, Part 3: Is "Full Recovery" Possible?

spectrum by duchessaMost people regard autism spectrum disorders  (ASD) as life-long in nature. However, research over the past 40 years has shown that this is not always the case.

In the December 2008 issue of the journal Neuropsychology Review, researcher Molly Helt and her colleagues reviewed the evidence that some ASD children recover over time and end up functioning within the normal range with regard to social skills, cognitive abilities and adaptive functioning.

In their review they found that high intelligence, receptive language, verbal and motor imitation and motor development predicted recovery for a minority of kids diagnosed with ASD. Interestingly, the severity of their symptoms did not predict recovery. As is the case in many aspects of human psychological development, early intervention and treatment were also more favorable to recovery. In addition, a diagnosis of Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified was also more likely to lead to recovery in later years.