No lost causes in brain development

Tyler
Tyler Clarke
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McMaster University child psychiatrist Dr. Jean Clinton is seen at Carlton Comprehensive Public High School on Wednesday prior to giving a presentation about brain development to local child care and education professionals. 

Although an early start is best when it comes to healthy brain development, there are no lost causes, McMaster University child psychiatrist Dr. Jean Clinton said.

 

Speaking to a packed crowd of childcare professionals, educators and child welfare advocates, Clinton told a Prince Albert crowd on Wednesday that the brain is built by experiences.

“It’s not genes alone that determine who we are, but the environment has a huge impact on how we turn out,” she said.

“If the environment is nurturing, loving and supportive our brains get built different.

“How as a community can we make sure that kids are surrounded by relationships that help them?”

Clinton said that it’s “completely” fitting that the Regional Intersectoral Committee and Community Mobilization Prince Albert supported her Prince Albert speaking engagement.

These organizations band various agencies together in tackling individual as well as system community issues.

Taking the “It takes a village to raise a child” motif to heart, Clinton concluded; “The village needs to be functional.”

It’s not genes alone that determine who we are, but the environment has a huge impact on how we turn out Jean Clinton

Although there is a prime time of brain development, the only time it

really stops developing is “when you’re in the grave,” Clinton said.

“Our brain, we now know, can change throughout our life,” she added.

“If you want to think of an idea model, you would construct your house really solidly so that when the windstorm of adolescence comes along you’re on solid foundations, but if you didn’t get the solid foundations then you can still do what you need to re-wire and reconstruct,” she said.

“Let’s get it right in the early years because that will head off a whole lot of problems later on.”

Organizations: Prince Albert, Regional Intersectoral Committee

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