How Poverty Taxes the Brain

See on Scoop.itDevelopmental & Behavioral Challenges in Children

Scientists have discovered that being poor actually impairs our cognitive abilities.

Dr. Pat McGuire‘s insight:

This is a very intriguing study.  While they focused on poverty, I can see where that same level of stress from being a child with a neurodevelopmental disorder (intellectual disability, communication disorder, autism spectrum disorder, ADHD, learning disabilities, and movement disorders) can lead to impairment of cognitive abilities.

I hear about it all the time when teachers tell parents and children that because the child can “some days” do well, that they must be not trying the other days. I see it as how much stress has their neurodevelopmental disorder been under that day that then drained off their cognitive reserves.

What do you think?

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2 thoughts on “How Poverty Taxes the Brain

  1. Stress alone can make my brain feel like a computer defragging. There are days when the words won’t come and the data can’t be located. I know it’s there but can’t retrieve it. Children in school certainly have days like that, especially when a big test is placed there and a time limit is set. Easy to see how the brain would shut down.


    • You are so right Melinda. And also being around stress, such as yelling and verbal putdowns which can happen at home, school, and in the community. I have had a number of patients/children who can’t function in school because their teacher yells all the time. I have had parents confirm this because they hear the yelling from the hall when they come to volunteer.

      We have got to realize that we can’t raise children like they are in a military boot camp. Yelling and emotionally tearing them down will not make them better people. They are looking to us to teach them how to function in life, not to be on high alert all the time. The military has found that their methods can also create undue stress on recruits, leading to suicide for some. This is therefore NOT the way to raise our children who don’t have the life experience base that recruits have.


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