In the recently concluded 8th Biennial Convention of the Philippine Society for Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, many ideas were conveyed with scientific and factual data. It has been an enriching 2-day event attended by Pediatricians, Therapists, Educators and Advocates.
There is a study on the effects of an enriched environment to the brain of children. Dr. Joel Lazaro provided an insight on a study that the brain has a phenomenon called “Use it or Lose it”. When you provide an environment that stimulates the mind of a child synapses are formed. Early experiences matter because it influence brain architecture and function. Take for example Tiger Woods, a champion golfer. He was given an opportunity to play and be trained by his father, also a golfer. At a young age, he was already performing at par with other pros. The first five years of the child is an essential time- the foundation years. There is an interplay of nature versus nurture. The brain is developing during those years. Learning starts at home – his first school.
Furthermore, the plenary became more active and participative when the topic emphasized on early intervention and stress. Early intervention starts when the therapists commences their programs, when the child receives education in regular or progressive schools, when parents are equipped on new parenting techniques and when the family adjusts to accommodate the child’s individual and unique needs.
Stress can be acquired by children too. This can be seen by physical manifestations. It can be positive, tolerable and toxic stress. Positive stress is felt when the child undergoes natural course, events that are necessary for his development. Tolerable stress can be a loss of something dear to him like a loved one, a toy, a change of residence or parents separating. Toxic stress is the severe form where the child experiences emotions more than he can handle. For example, physical abuse. Verbal abuse in my opinion may fall in this category. Ridicule, shaming, bad-mouthing are some habits that can lead to stress.
Finally, “less is more” as what Dr. Lazaro emphasized. We live in a world where there is an abundance of almost everything. For me, when we take control and appreciate the little things we have and use it to our advantage, that is to allow more time for stimulation. When we have lots of technological armours, what is left is little quality time. When we have lots of dreams and demands to our exceptional children so they can be achievers, what is left is little quality time for play.
By: Teacher Jun Polancos