A Neurobiological Perspective on Early Human Deprivation Essays

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In the world that we all live in there are two different types of care systems; foster care mainly in the United States and institutionalizations located more in European countries. Foster care and institutions are very similar, but institutions are more formalized. Even though institutions are more formalized, they also seem much worse on children than foster care. In the article, “A Neurobiological Perspective on Early Human Deprivation” by Charles A. Nelson (2007), explains how institutionalization is bad for children.

The main idea throughout the article explains how early institutionalization affects children of all ages. Not only does the article explain the effects on overall development, but it also concentrates mostly on brain development To begin, early institutionalization has affects on brain development. In institutions children do not receive as much stimulation as they would in a home environment. Not receiving proper stimulation is bad because, the child’s neurons will not make proper connections.

Not only is proper connections needed for the child, but the neurons myelin sheath won’t fully develop. The myelin sheath helps transmit information and signals from one neuron to the next; the researchers found, that compared to a control group, children’s “ white matter connectivity diminishes through the uncinate fasciculus region of the brain. ” (2007, pg 59) Not only does lack of stimulation affect the brain, but also affects over all development. Another effect of early institutionalization is the affect on over all development.

Development over all includes cognitive, physical, and social-emotional, but children living in institutions don’t develop these properly. Charles A. Nelson and researchers found that children adopted from institutions, lack healthy development of the three domains. The cognitive development of children living in institutions is affected because without proper cognitive growth the child would not be able to think the way they should like a child who grew up outside a institutional home.

Not only does cognitive development play an important role in a child’s life but, physical growth does too; a good reasonable physical development is needed for children because without it kids would not be able to move from place to place on their own. Socio-emotional development also plays a big role on how children develop because without proper socio-emotional growth children will not be able to control their emotions. Not only that, but the attachment towards others might not be as expected, and the child’s personality and behavior can seem different from others.

Not only does institutionalization effect over all development but, institutional rearing seems to have a big impact on children’s brain development. Lastly institutional rearing appears bad for the brain. An institutional environment has a lot of stress. The stress expressed in institutions effects the way children learn things. It appears to have a negative effect on sensory, cognitive, linguistic, and psychosocial behavior. These aspects seem to be harmed because of the lack of stimulation the neuron connections are not making proper connections.

As mentioned in the article, “informational input leads to under specification to circuits and miswireing of circuits within the neurons of the brain”(2007, Pg 60) . Without the proper connections between neurons the children who live in institutional settings will not have great sensory skills; meaning they might be confused when it comes to taste, smell, sight, hearing, and touch. Our sensory skills are not the only thing affected by institutional rearing but, children’s cognitive development does not develop properly.

Neurons play a major role in a child’s cognitive development because without proper connections children of all ages will not be able to associate with other parts of development. Linguistic development is basically the development of language and speech; children who live in institutions do not properly develop these skills, which make it hard for them to learn good communication. Even children’s behavior can be affected by institutional rearing; without correct punishment and reinforcement the child will not learn what is right rom wrong, and this can play a major affect on the child’s brain development. The author of the article Charles A. Nelson wants his readers to understand what is bad about institutionalization and how it affects children in the world. He wants readers to understand that institutions are not properly fit for a child’s development. Without proper child development, the way children develop affects the way they will grow throughout life. Not only does the author want us to know that development is needed.



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