Stroke or Stroke-like?

Born seizing uncontrollably, already addicted to methamphetamine, shaking from withdrawal syndromes, brain abnormalities, limb malfunctions, pain. No newborn should experience anything other than the pure gift of life. Mothers who are addicted to drugs, alcohol, substances…they get pregnant and bring children into this world who have the worst possible start. This vicious cycle of creating children who have essentially no chance for a normal life is far too common. It should never happen.

This type of childbirth is the worst of the worst. It happens everywhere, but is most commonly seen in communities with a lack of education, a lack of quality healthcare, and generally low socioeconomic statuses. Even so, the children who are lucky enough to be born healthy to families with no substance use at all may still have brain development inferiorly to other children. In a recent study at UC Berkeley, scientists discovered that “kids from lower socioeconomic show brain physiology patterns similar to someone who actually had damage in the frontal lobe as an adult”, as claimed by Robert Knight, UC Berkeley psychology professor. Unfortunately, when children grow up in communities that lack certain resources surrounding learning development, their behavioral characteristics tend to suffer. It is nobody’s fault. Their parents do the best that they can. The resources provided to them are the best that can be afforded.

The study essentially looked at the speed of brain activity of children, half from low income families and half from high income families. They were simply instructed to click on a mouse when an image of a skewed triangle flashed on the screen throughout a series of normal triangle flashing. Most of the children of lower socioeconomic status either did not see the skewed images at all or they were unable to process that it was skewed, as they scored very low on the test. None of these children were born addicted to drugs, no mental defects…there was not a clear explanation why they were slower/unable to respond to the stimuli.

This means that we are doing something wrong in our nation. If children of the same age, same education level, no birth defects, and no neurological disorders do not perform the same on a simple test of looking at shapes, then something needs to change in order to level the playing field. It has been suggested that children from middle income families (and higher) hear more words by the age of 4, about 30 million more words to be exact. It may be as simple as creating programs on TV that employ usage of more enriched vocabulary, just to expose children in families who have parents that work intense hours just to put food on the table. But something needs to change. No child who has followed proper development should show symptoms similar to that of a stroke victim. It just isn’t fair.

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