Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Nathan Mikaere Wallis - Brain Development Session

Nathan Mikaire-Wallis
Brain Development
5th May 2015

Lakes DHB has been working on focusing on the first 1000 days of life. Partnering with Nathan to ensure that everyone has understanding of what

1990s - Decade of the Brain
300 years worth of info in 10 years.

Lectures at Canterbury
Grew up in Milton
On the board of Brainwave

Lots of his students had seen trauma in their lives as young Cambodian kids.

wanted to work with them therapeutically. Dealing with kids with extreme behaviours and trauma.

Importance of the Brain

Now we have the technology to look at the brain while people are alive

Much more informed about the brain and what it does

Kanohi te kanohi - hasn’t evolved to the context of reading - but it has evolved in context of relational interaction

The human brain - genetically - learns what it needs to in the early years. Moulded by the environment it encounters.

The first 1000 days - from the day you were concieved - til 2 and a half
During that time it gathers information around what is happening and creates a brain that you have for the rest of your life. This is when it is created so that it knows what it needs to deal with in the future and how intelligent it needs to be. Eg. Resiliency, Empathy,

Nurture vs Nature whakaaro

We’ve built a society around being genes-driven rather than nurture focussed.

Lowest funded age-group under 3s despite the research that says first 3 years are important

Culturally informed decision - that high school is more important than primary and primary more important than early childhood ed.

Stay at home parent - very in line with the research

There is no ONE time that our rangatahi are ‘wrecked’ - it’s a spectrum

Risk factors and resiliency factors

Complexity - there is no one factor

Where does that one child fit on the spectrum

The diad - two way relationship (avoids saying mother and baby - we say the diad)

Between parent and child -

Being in care is something they will tolerate - not something that will benefit them

‘What about social skills?’ - at 6 weeks old - do they need to be in care?

Hormonally drunk on your child - for the first 18 months of life - no matter how revolting they are they still get responded to well

Responding pro-socially - forms the basis for good social skills

The earlier you’re in care, the earlier you are exposed to anger, the earlier you are exposed to a more possible negative risk factor and differing resiliency issues

They have so many resiliency factors - the risk factors aren’t so detrimental

If they are JUST good enough - then they won’t be taken out of care

99% of that data the brain collects is the diad

The speaking and interacting is more important than learning the alphabet

Data gathering peaks at 9 months

Being asleep for the second part of the day helps to protect the baby because more riskful issues happen in second part of the day

First 18 months it’s all about the diad.

Babies tell you what they need

Humans are able to adapt to their changing world in the first 18 months of their lives

We still tend to spend on adolesence rather than on babies development

If you’ve been able to achieve ‘good enough’ parenting - then you’re all good.

The amount of plasticity changes the older you get

Four things that reduce plasticity:
  1. Caffeine
  2. Alcohol
  3. Tobacco
  4. Sugar

After three isn’t too late.

The majority of people don’t have an intervention. As soon as you intervene - it changes their outcomes.
More whanau look after the baby which support the mum who is less stressed and as a result can provide a better diad to baby

Transition is easier if didactic relationship changes between Mum being sole caregiver and then dad if they’re both there.

Dog’s do NOT have a frontal cortex

4) Frontal Cortex: Thinking and learning brain - Reading, writing, language… empathy, understanding perspective, relating to others. (optional: 1000 days - set up the optional part - survival, procreate, protect kids)
Comes online properly when you reach adulthood - 26 - female brains come online faster (18-24)  than males (22-32) - nature has an invested interest - females look after babies - males go to war and take risks - they don’t say why, what’s my motivation, he might have a wife and kids at home...
  1. Brainstem: survival brain - keeps you alive, keeps your brain alive, heart beating
  2. Cerebellum: co-ordination brain - movement skills, co-ordinating the thinking in the frontal cortext. Movement is way more to do with learning - getting kids to stay completely skill shuts down a students brain.
  3. Limbic system: Mammal brain - Home of your emotions.

Only 1&2 brain is reptilian

Relationship between Brainstem and Frontal Cortex - They’re on a set of scales -  As one increases, the other declines - and vice versa

To really be using your cortext, your brainstem needs to be calm.

Cognitive behaviour therapy - need to normalise the behaviours, learning to acclimatise to certain behaviours,

Calming his brainstem in terms of dealing with delinquent kids. Love it. Kids jump out at him and his bro with black belt - “Who the f***k are you?!” His brother freezes and Nathan says, “I’m Nathan” hand out to shake, “who the f**k are you?!” Difference in our experiences and how we deal with different things.

Research base that says meditation deeply relaxes your brainstem - your HPA - giving you access to your cortex.

If  - during that first 1000 days your brainstem is calm - then they have a stronger ability to have a more developed frontal cortex.

Brainstem aroused for a longer period of time - learns to deal that it’s a waste of time. If baby has been left to ‘self-soothe’ that just means they’re learning to have more resiliency - but they still aren’t soothing themselves.

Optional extra of frontal cortex.

Orphanage kid dealing with not being looked after properly compared to a kid that has a good first three years of someone looking after them properly.

Multiple twins - the dominant twin gets the advantage, the less dominant twin gets the risk factors -  less dom attaches to the dominant twin. Talking to twins individually cancels out the attachment issues.

Between 3 and 6 - they’re learning but still not ready for formal learning

Piaget’s theory - around about 7 that you’re ready for that formal learning

It was during the war that they lowered the school starting year - because mum’s were at work. NZ was the only country who did not raise it back up.

Fairly easy to start kids at school at 6 rather than 5. Often better for them too when they're older as they have a stronger success rate.

Question time:

Negative impact from conception - earlier it is - the more important it is. It would be better to have 15 horrible months towards the end rather than at the beginning. There is a definite difference between the first child and then the ones afterwards. Not necessarily doomed - can be given resilience by others which will lead to good outcomes. Major intervention. Most people don’t have an intervention.

Autism and Post Natal depression - how does a bond reattach? Need professional help to create a stronger bond. Never too late. But need prof help -  therapy process

Need to deconstruct the negative stuff towards the attachment.

Automatic pilot attachment issues. Creating stories you’ve created from the facts.

How did we get the research and the society so wrong? NZ is a punative society. Trying to create a Utopia when they came to NZ. No rehabilitation. Very black and white thinking makes it very hard to change mindsets

As a secondary teacher - there is no brain 3 or 4 - lots of emotion going on, frontal cortex shuts for renovations

Daycare - what if both parents have to work - get a close relative to help so that there is no broken attachment or get home based childcare. Cortisol - baby prefers to be in the diad. Still getting diadic relationship if the person is on 80% of the time with your child.

How do you support a student that has a lot of stress because of exams? Reset goals

What impact does the television and those types of media have on the first three years? 0-2 appropriate time= 0. Gotta keep the brainstem calm. Devices arouse it.

Best suggestion for students who are over 12 - from now on? Can’t go back. The scale thing applies on a day to day basis. You’re going to be an amazing grandmother now that you know about this! Adolesence is a real difficult thing. Have some empathy for where the teenagers are in. Talk to their emotions rather than their logic. 99% of her reality is her emotions. Children will do as you do, not as you say.