Reading to at-risk children builds resilience, new research suggests


New research from the University of South Australia shows that reading aloud can triple a child’s resilience in school, especially for at-risk children. The research was published in the journal “Child Abuse & Neglect”.

Focusing on early elementary-aged children who had experienced abuse or neglect, the study explored factors that might modify the negative effects of adverse life circumstances, finding that one of the strongest predictors of Resilience in Boys and Girls in Troubled Families was read for at home. While reading to children at home has long been associated with school readiness and academic achievement, this is the first study to show the benefits of reading in mitigating some of the harmful trajectories of child abuse. children.

In Australia in 2021, nearly 300,000 children aged 0-17 were the subject of one or more child protection notifications, of which 105,000 were investigated and nearly 50 000 have been the subject of proven abuse or negligence. The study found that victims of child abuse are generally more developmentally vulnerable than their early school peers.

Lead researcher Professor Leonie Segal said there is an acute need to support these children and their families, before children start school, with reading being a key success factor. “A good start at school is predictive of later outcomes, so it’s critical not only to identify those at risk early on, but also to find ways to support children’s emotional, social and physical development before ‘They don’t start school,’ Professor Segal said.

“Reading aloud can create many positive outcomes for children. As a shared experience between parent and child, it encourages connection, while directly contributing to child development through exposure to words and stories,” she continued. “Children in families who struggle to create a nurturing environment will especially benefit from reading with a parent or guardian, improving their resilience and keeping them more on track, despite their exposure to adversity,” he said. she adds.

The study analyzed data covering 65,083 children who had completed the Early Australian Development Census (AEDC) at age 5 to 6, when entering primary school, identifying 3,414 high-risk children who had been abused. Boys were found to be developmentally lagging behind girls, especially those who had been exposed to abuse or neglect.

Prof Segal said the education sector needs to consider strategies to better support boys in early learning environments. “Our study found that boys had a much higher risk of being developmentally delayed than girls, as did children living in remote or rural areas, and those with physical, sensory or learning disabilities. All of these groups need much more support,” said Professor Ségal.

“It is essential to pay special attention to boys, especially those who are victims of child abuse. Encouraging parents to read to their boys, although valuable, is not enough, the sector has a responsibility to education to identify other mechanisms to support boys,” she continued. . “This could include recruiting more male educators into early years settings and ensuring that learning approaches are sensitive to the specific needs of boys. Men currently make up less than 5% of the early childhood education workforce, with their presence in primary schools also declining. Improving the gender balance among educators could be an important step in helping boys,” she added.

“Understanding which attributes can help young children be more resilient – ​​or conversely which factors can put them at greater risk – can form the basis of interventions for child victims of maltreatment to improve trajectories of life.” “Every child deserves the chance to have a bright future. We must not neglect those most at risk,” she concluded. (ANI)

(This story has not been edited by the Devdiscourse team and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)


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