Face masks and other social distancing measures may in fact impede on children’s development, a new study executed by Brown University has found
The probe analyzed the cognitive development of the youngsters through infancy, childhood and adolescence
In the study, researchers first analyzed 1,070 assessments administered on 605 kids prior to March 2020, when COVID lockdowns and masking began
A further 154 assessments from 118 kids administered between March 2020 and June 2021, during the height of the pandemic, were then carried out
Thirty-nine children born in 2018 and 2019 were analyzed over the course of the pandemic, into 2021.
The report found that there was a 23 per cent drop in scores measuring kids’ intelligence quotients since the start of the pandemic
The study also found similar dips in the same span in regards to developing children’s ability to communicate, both verbally and though subtle facial cues
Since the first reports of novel coronavirus in the 2020, public health organizations have advocated preventative policies to limit virus, including stay-at-home orders that closed businesses, daycares, schools, playgrounds, and limited child learning and typical activities. Fear of infection and possible employment loss has placed stress on parents; while parents who could work from home faced challenges in both working and providing full-time attentive childcare. For pregnant individuals, fear of attending prenatal visits also increased maternal stress, anxiety, and depression. Not surprising, there has been concern over how these factors, as well as missed educational opportunities and reduced interaction, stimulation, and creative play with other children might impact child neurodevelopment. Leveraging a large on-going longitudinal study of child neurodevelopment, we examined general childhood cognitive scores in 2020 and 2021 vs. the preceding decade, 2011-2019. We find that children born during the pandemic have significantly reduced verbal, motor, and overall cognitive performance compared to children born pre-pandemic. Moreover, we find that males and children in lower socioeconomic families have been most affected. Results highlight that even in the absence of direct SARS-CoV-2 infection and COVID-19 illness, the environmental changes associated COVID-19 pandemic is significantly and negatively affecting infant and child development.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process, often lasting 10-15 years and involving a combination of public and private involvement.
We wanted to know whether and when babies might discover the importance of a talker’s mouth. So, in one study in my lab, we showed videos of talking faces to babies of different ages and tracked their attention by using an eye-tracking device. We discovered that babies begin lip-reading at around 8 months of age. Crucially, the onset of lip-reading at this age corresponds with the onset of canonical babbling, suggesting that babies begin lip-reading because they become interested in speech and language. By lip-reading, babies now gain access to visual speech cues which, as Janet Werker and her colleagues at the University of British Columbia have shown, are clearly perceptible to them. So, the lip-reading now enables babies to see the visible speech cues that they need to figure out which face goes with which voice. Of course, babies cannot access visible speech cues if others are wearing masks.