Anatomy & Physiology
Occupational & Environmental Medicine
Material deprivation can impair parents’ capacity to give time and attention to their children and increase the risk of maternal depression. Children from deprived environments (especially where neglect is prominent) may show developmental delay, particularly of language. Children best learn the meaning of words when the word and the object are closely and frequently associated. The child deprived of simple play with adults does not have the opportunity to hear language related to the immediate environment. He/she may be surrounded by more complex visual and auditory stimuli from television or older siblings, but may be unable to interpret and learn from these stimuli because of their complexity or because of interference from background noises.
Recent studies of children who have been adopted from Romanian orphanages attest to both the resilience and the vulnerability of developmental processes. When reassessed at the age of 4 years, those children adopted within the UK by the age of 6 months had shown cognitive catch up, despite having shown severe physical and developmental retardation. Those adopted after 6 months of age showed catch up, but not to the same extent. Social, cognitive and interactive development are particularly at risk. Age of adoption was a greater predictor of outcome than nutritional state.
Source: Forfar and Arneil's Textbook of Pediatrics, 7E
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