Saturday, October 10, 2009

Quick Brain Stuff

A while back people asked me a lot of questions about education and I did my best to answer as many as I could. Lisa asked me a question, though, that I didn't really know the answer to. She asked at what age do you start to be able to see what a child will be capable of. Well, this question really got my wheels turning. Through my ABR board I have realized that our children often know much more than their bodies will allow them to show. I know that specialized and rigorous therapy can also create unusual gains. But I don't think that's what she meant. So I've been reading about kids and their brains and while I don't have a perfect answer, I think I have some of an answer.

It actually started with a book I picked up at the library called Raising Musical Kids. Charlie loves music, so I thought I'd look it over and see what sorts of things would be beneficial now. It has the most adorable picture of a tiny child playing the piano on the cover--too cute. The most interesting thing in the entire book was this: According to research, children who receive musical instruction before the age of six, have a demonstrably larger corpus callosum than children who do not. For those of you like me (who skipped anatomy), the corpus callosum in the part of the brain that send messages between the two hemispheres.

Two things grabbed me:
  1. Using a certain part of the brain repeatedly can cause it to grow
  2. The use must occur before the age of six.

Glenn Doman who write the Teach Your Baby series that I adore so much says that the first five years of life are the most crucial. Seems like he might be right.

I know this doesn't answer Lisa's question explictly, but it helps me. After age five, it will become much more difficult for your child to learn and grow their brain. It also makes me amazingly hopeful. Five years is a long time and you can expose your child to a lot of things in that time--possibilities, possibilities.

I've got Bright From the Start on my nightstand right now, which is all about baby brain development. I'm sure I'll have a lot more to report once I finish it.