Written By: Sandi Lerman, MA Ed. Community Educator
Building a Healthy Brain
Babies are born with billions of tiny brain cells ready to form connections and build pathways for growth, learning, and human connection. When a young child is raised in a safe and stable environment by loving and attentive caregivers, the brain builds a strong and positive foundation for life.
Everything you are thinking and doing right now is made possible by the amazing organic super-computer in your head. Your amazing brain helps you experience the world through the five senses and then organize it all into patterns of thought and emotion. It’s also command-central for all the conscious and unconscious functions of your body.
The Impact of Stress and Adversity
Sadly, some children grow up in environments that are not safe and nurturing, leaving the brain vulnerable to stress and developmental trauma. When a brain doesn’t develop healthy connections and patterns, this causes a high risk for mental and physical complications.
Children and adults who grew up in chaotic environments and were exposed to early childhood adversity and trauma are more likely to experience chronic physical diseases and mental illness throughout their lifetimes.
Families First Survivor Advocate, Sarah Blume, plays “Brain Architecture Game” – an interactive simulation of the first six years of a child’s life.
The Resilient Brain
The good news is that with the right kind of support and intervention, every brain has the potential to heal from childhood trauma and adversity by growing and building new pathways!
One important key to bouncing back from life’s challenges is to get the right kind of ongoing positive support and connection with people who care. It’s never too late to build a better brain!
Loving relationships with family and friends are a wonderful protective factor for children and adults. Caring professionals also have strategies and tools that can help you and your children build strong brain connections for a happier, healthier life.
If you or someone you know needs help making those connections, reach out to Families First! We offer counseling, support groups, parent education, and community education to support families through life’s changes and challenges.
For more information on Brain Awareness Week, along with free tips, resources, fact sheets, and fun educational activities for children, visit the Dana Foundation.