New studies show that home-based stressors such as poverty, neglect, abuse and even witnessing violence can change the chemical and physical structures of the brain, and not in a good way. For many students within the Los Angeles Unified School District (the 2nd largest school district in the country) where 80% live in poverty, THESE STRESSORS ARE EVERYWHERE!
Studies on mice done by Dr. Cara Wellman, a professor of neuroscience and psychology at Indiana University, show that chronic stress causes dendrites in the brain to shrink, changing the way the brain works. She also found deficiencies in the pre-frontal cortex – the part of the brain needed to solve problems, which is crucial to learning.
Other researchers link chronic stress to a host of cognitive effects, including trouble with attention, concentration, memory and creativity.[/twocol_one_last]
You don’t need to be a genius to conclude how this winds up affecting a child’s performance in school.
Just another layer to add to the complexity of the problems faced by today’s children and future generations especially if child after child is going to continue to be pumped into the world with little regard for how they can or will be raised in a safe environment.
While stable, healthy parenting is vital, there’s no getting around the significance of a low-stress, safe environment.