Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Parental intervention boosts education of kids at high risk of failure

18.02.2008
University of Oregon neuroscientists are using basic research findings to address real world problems

An eight-week-long intervention program aimed at parents from low socioeconomic backgrounds reaped significant educational benefits in their preschool-aged children, a University of Oregon research fellow reported today at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

In a news briefing (9 a.m. EST, “Poverty and the Brain”) and scientific session later in the day, Courtney Stevens, a postdoctoral research fellow in the Brain Development Lab of UO neuroscientist Helen J. Neville, described preliminary results of a parent-intervention portion of a larger study that also includes other approaches aimed at the children in a federal Head Start program in Oregon. The parent training program was developed by UO doctoral student Jessica Fanning, who recently completed her dissertation.

At the end of the intervention effort, participating parents reported dramatic reductions in family stress, including reduced behavioral problems, compared to parents in the control group. The UO researchers also documented, through testing and brain-wave scans, improvements in the children's language-acquisition skills, memory and cognitive abilities.

The experimental group included 14 children between 3 and 5 years old and their parents. The children underwent brain scans before and after the research period. The parents attended weekly 2.5-hour sessions in which they were coached on improved communication skills and strategies to use with their children to help control their behavior. At the end of testing, they were compared with results from a control group of 14 children who were tested and had brain scans at the beginning and end of the study period, but whose parents did not receive an intervention protocol.

Several other intervention strategies, including the use of music and attention training with small groups of children, were part of the project, but only data from the parental intervention were shared during a AAAS session on "Poverty and Brain Development: Correlations, Mechanisms, and Societal Implications" scheduled for 1:45 p.m.-4:45 p.m. EST.

"Our findings are important because they suggest that kids who are at high risk for school failure can be helped through these interventions," said Stevens, who earned master's and doctoral degrees at the UO and is currently a visiting faculty member at New York's Sarah Lawrence College. "Even with these small numbers of children, the parent training appears very promising.

"We are continuing to assess the parent training program," she added. "We are looking at the effects of the training on children's brain organization, using event-related brain potentials. We are following these children for the next few years to see whether the improvements we see after training persist and generalize to the school environment."

The intervention strategies, being tested with funding from the Institute of Education Science, were created after 30 years of basic research by Neville on the changeability of the human brain, supported primarily by the National Institutes of Health. Neville has studied children and adults with a variety of experiences, including deafness and blindness, to see impacts in the brain. She had found that the auditory cortex and areas of the brain associated with visual abilities -- for years thought to be genetically determined at birth -- rewire and adapt for other helpful uses.

Neville, who initially was scheduled to present the new findings, did not attend the AAAS meeting. She described her early work in an interview at the UO.

"We've identified different neuroplasticity profiles," Neville said. "Within vision, within hearing, within attention and within language some systems in the brain don't seem to change very much when experiences are very different, and others change remarkably. As we looked more into basic development and developmental disorders, these same systems that were enhanced in the deaf and blind were the same ones that appear to be most vulnerable and deficient in disorders such as dyslexia and specific language impairments.

"We've learned that plasticity is a double-edged sword," she said. "A system that is changeable can be enhanced, but it can also be very vulnerable to deficits if it doesn’t get the appropriate help at the right time."

Catching children while they are young is the right time, Neville said. Targeting children from families with low socioeconomic status makes sense, she said, because research in the United States, United Kingdom and several other countries has repeatedly shown a correlation between children's educational achievement and their parents' education and income levels.

"Knowing the plasticity profiles and learning which are most changeable provides us with an opportunity to help in the real world," she said. A societal payoff for such interventions is economic, she added. "The research is not just good for the children; it is good for the economy. "Economists say that investment in early education returns $18 for every dollar spent."

Jim Barlow | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.uoregon.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Antarctic Ice Sheet mass loss has increased
14.06.2018 | Technische Universität Dresden

nachricht WAKE-UP provides new treatment option for stroke patients | International study led by UKE
17.05.2018 | Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Temperature-controlled fiber-optic light source with liquid core

In a recent publication in the renowned journal Optica, scientists of Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology (Leibniz IPHT) in Jena showed that they can accurately control the optical properties of liquid-core fiber lasers and therefore their spectral band width by temperature and pressure tuning.

Already last year, the researchers provided experimental proof of a new dynamic of hybrid solitons– temporally and spectrally stationary light waves resulting...

Im Focus: Overdosing on Calcium

Nano crystals impact stem cell fate during bone formation

Scientists from the University of Freiburg and the University of Basel identified a master regulator for bone regeneration. Prasad Shastri, Professor of...

Im Focus: AchemAsia 2019 will take place in Shanghai

Moving into its fourth decade, AchemAsia is setting out for new horizons: The International Expo and Innovation Forum for Sustainable Chemical Production will take place from 21-23 May 2019 in Shanghai, China. With an updated event profile, the eleventh edition focusses on topics that are especially relevant for the Chinese process industry, putting a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation.

Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...

Im Focus: First real-time test of Li-Fi utilization for the industrial Internet of Things

The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.

Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.

Im Focus: Sharp images with flexible fibers

An international team of scientists has discovered a new way to transfer image information through multimodal fibers with almost no distortion - even if the fiber is bent. The results of the study, to which scientist from the Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology Jena (Leibniz IPHT) contributed, were published on 6thJune in the highly-cited journal Physical Review Letters.

Endoscopes allow doctors to see into a patient’s body like through a keyhole. Typically, the images are transmitted via a bundle of several hundreds of optical...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Munich conference on asteroid detection, tracking and defense

13.06.2018 | Event News

2nd International Baltic Earth Conference in Denmark: “The Baltic Sea region in Transition”

08.06.2018 | Event News

ISEKI_Food 2018: Conference with Holistic View of Food Production

05.06.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Graphene assembled film shows higher thermal conductivity than graphite film

22.06.2018 | Materials Sciences

Fast rising bedrock below West Antarctica reveals an extremely fluid Earth mantle

22.06.2018 | Earth Sciences

Zebrafish's near 360 degree UV-vision knocks stripes off Google Street View

22.06.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>