“…Everyone Else’s Children Will Determine the Next Adult Population”

CEO and Founder Michele Fried sent the staff a link to a video from the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University. The video which follows this short summary shows the types of neglect and the long term impact on child development.

Scientists and researchers at the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University suggest that “significant neglect—the ongoing disruption or significant absence of caregiver responsiveness— can be more detrimental to child development than physical abuse”.(Develpingchild.harvard.edu). The video which follows is part of Harvard University’s continuing series called, In Brief which seeks to address “why child development—particularly from birth to five years—is a foundation for a prosperous and sustainable society.” (In Brief) This episode on neglect which addresses institutional neglect such as happens in orphanages is important research for those who are considering International Adoption. On the domestic front, it is believed that more children are neglected than abused. The disruptions in the body’s stress response caused by neglect can have lasting impact on cognitive development and impairment to physical health and function. Effective intervention can have “lasting long term outcomes”.

The researchers have differentiated neglect or unresponsive care into four types (to see the original research click here for the PDF). The video follows this description.

  • Occasional Inattention – This is intermittent or casual lack of attention in an otherwise responsive environment. At this level, children often require inattention for growth. It can promote a sense of independence, self soothing and exploration. No intervention is needed
  • Chronic Under-Stimulation – Here the lack of adult responsiveness to the child is ongoing and unreliable. This often leads to development delays but intervention and good solid child care and education can effectively address the delays.
  • Severe Neglect in a Family Context – This type of neglect happens when the child’s basic needs both physical and emotional are not addressed. Where this is found, children suffer developmental impairments along with serious and immediate threats to their health and survival. Invention is crucial and should be immediate.
  • Severe Neglect in an Institutional Setting – This type of neglect happens most notably in orphanages or other institutional setting where there is no primary care-givers. Care-givers attend to the child by the shift. Basic sustenance needs are met but very little else. Institutional neglect can cause severe physical, cognitive and psycho-social impairments. The need for a stable caring and responsive environment is required.

Read Megan Montgomery blog series What to Expect:

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