Child Brain Studies

By studying the brain and how it develops, we can learn more about children and how they learn. We have already discussed how changes in the brain affect what a child is ready and able to learn.  If a child is ready to learn to read developmentally, but is not stimulated to learn to read, this can affect their development.  If a child is not ready to read, and is forced to start learning to read, then again, this can affect their development. So it is important that teachers are aware of how the child is developing, what is expected of a child of a certain age, but also recognising that all children are different. Children develop in different ways and what they are capable of and ready for, will vary from child to child.  

But beyond this, we can also use the study of neuropsychology to look at different ways to help children learn and improve their memories.

Neuropsychological assessments are tools that have traditionally been used in hospitals by psychiatrists and psychologists, but teachers have come to realise that they can also be used in assessing children educationally. For example, school psychologists or educational psychologists can use them to assess children with special needs.

Neuropsychology helps us to study the function of the brain and how the nervous system affects the way that people think and behave.  It is also now helping in determining why some children have difficulties acquiring language skills, reading, learning arithmetic and so on. So neurological assessments can be used to determine how much of the child’s school performance is due to the function of their brain and nervous system. It can also help the school to determine the child’s skills and the best learning environment for them.

In practice, this will involve gathering information about the child’s development physically, psychologically, educationally and socially.  This can include observations by parents, formal observations, standardised assessment methods and other tests.

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