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What cutting-edge neuroscience tells us about early childhood development

Brookings – Dr. Dana Suskind

“I recognize and readily acknowledge the shortcomings of the Hart and Risley study; issues with the research design and with the framing of its results as a gap, or deficit. But I also credit it, and its relative simplicity, with helping me–and many others–begin to understand not just the role of language in child development, but the power of parents and environments to help shape child development in profound ways. Brain development, cognition, and poverty are undeniably complex issues. If I hadn’t encountered Hart and Risley’s study, I may still be spending all of my time in the operating room, wondering why some of my patients thrive after receiving a cochlear implant and others struggle. But I quickly learned that their study, while groundbreaking, was merely the first sentence in a robust scientific narrative about the impact of language on foundational brain development—research that goes way beyond the word gap.” (more)

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