Studies have shown that stressful childhood experiences, both prior to birth and after birth can have significant impact on the vital brain development of an infant.*
Exposure to stressors that cause continual fear and frequent anxiety can disrupt children’s early brain development, resulting in childhood development delays.
These stresses can begin in utero through premature birth and into extended NICU stays. Developmental delays can include pervasive developmental disorder, Autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, as well as communication issues, such as delays in speech development.
The good news is that babies’ brains are resilient and so are families. The key is early recognition and appropriate early intervention therapy and support for the child and the family.
Given the right tools and support, families can help their children and themselves as they break these developmental delay patterns.
*National Scientific Council on the Developing Child. Excessive Stress Disrupts the Architecture of the Developing Brain, Working Paper No. 3 ( online), 2005; Persistent Fear and Anxiety Can Affect Young Children’s Learning and Development , Working Paper No.9 ( online),2010.