By Dr. Marciene Mattleman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Positive, short term stress is healthy.  Children need to learn to manage adversities such as dealing with the first day of school, points out Dr. Jack Shonkoff, co-director of Harvard University’s Center on the Developing Child.

But the flexibility that makes kids open to learning can make them vulnerable to damage from toxic stress — severe and/or sustained, without supportive relationships — such as poverty, homelessness, high mobility.

In an article in Education Week, Sarah D. Sparks reports on a study from Child Development in which 26,000 students who moved more than three times a year had significantly lower math achievement and academic growth than students with stable homes.

At the University of Maryland, children with six or more adverse experiences before age 3 were overwhelmingly identified as needing special education.

The article is extremely important showing that time doesn’t heal some adversity, even 50 years later.


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