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Development Education & Research
Most parents stumble through the first few years of their baby's life. We go to school to learn how to be a teacher or an accountant or a carpenter, but where is the school for new parents? We end up having to do probably the most important thing in our lives without any real training or practical knowledge, and without having the extended family that used to be there for advice.
Normal development is sometimes a struggle. We like to think that all babies will be okay, that parents will have nothing to worry about. But the reality is that not all babies will keep up, and some will continue to fall further and further behind.
Based on US figures provided by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; 42,000 Australian newborns a year are at risk of having some form of developmental disability. This data also shows that 17% of children in the US have some form of developmental disability, ranging from mild disability, such as speech and language problems, to serious developmental problems, such as intellectual disabilities, cerebral palsy and autism.
Childhood development within Australia has become a focus of policy makers within the Federal Government. Guided by the latest research and consultation feedback from the National Agenda for Early Childhood October 2007 there is a greater focus on early childhood initiatives and resources that can be used to achieve better outcomes for children, their families and communities. "Australian and international research confirms the critical development that takes place during the first few years of life, and where required, the real and positive effect appropriate interventions can have on a child's future ."
What we believe
We believe that the potentially adverse outcomes of brain injury and developmental delays can be minimised or decreased through education, intervention and development.
The human brain has a capacity for repair and/or reorganisation following either congenital or traumatic brain injury. We understand how important it is for a baby to be given every opportunity to progress through the normal stages of development, the importance that these normal developmental stages play in the overall growth and development of the brain, and how these developmental stages can be utilised as part of a therapy or stimulation program for a child or adult.
Early detection and early intervention are critical to the success of brain injury therapy or developmental stimulation. Recovery and development following brain injury or developmental delay are more likely to occur if therapy or stimulation is begun as early as possible.
Stimulation and therapy are more likely to be successful if they are in some part based on the normal stages of development since this is the means by which the brain is developed in normal circumstances. The developmental stages utilized in a therapy program should be based on the person's developmental rather than their chronological age. Therapy needs to adhere to one of the most basic principles of normal development - you start from the bottom and work up.
Development Education and Intervention Program
The Developing Foundation, through its 100% owned entity, FOBIC Research Pty Ltd, is funding a program, Developing Childhood, which aims to:
Educate parents about the connection between brain growth and the normal stages of development, and the importance of the first three years of life to the overall development of the brain.
- Provide a means for early detection of children slipping behind in their milestone development
- Provide individualised developmental strategies based on the results of the extensive milestone checking in attempt to facilitate development in areas where the child may be slipping behind
- Further the knowledge in the medical and therapeutic community about brain development and function with the objective of improving the rehabilitation of people affected by developmental delay and brain injury.
- Collect and analyse data about normal development to assist further research into the prevention of developmental delays and subsequent neurological problems.