Neurodevelopment in the first three years: implications for child development, professional practice and policy

Danya Glaser (Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, based at Great Ormond Street Hospital, London, UK)

Journal of Children's Services

ISSN: 1746-6660

Publication date: 10 June 2014



The purpose of this paper is to outline brain structure and development, the relationship between environment and brain development and implications for practice.


The paper is based on a selected review of the literature and clinical experience.


While genetics determine the sequence of brain maturation, the nature of brain development and functioning is determined by the young child's caregiving environment, to which the developing brain constantly adapts. The absence of input during sensitive periods may lead to later reduced functioning. There is an undoubted immediate equivalence between every mind function – emotion, cognition, behaviour and brain activity, although the precise location of this in the brain is only very partially determinable, since brain connections and function are extremely complex.


This paper provides an overview of key issues in neurodevelopment relating to the development of young children, and implications for policy and practice.



Glaser, D. (2014), "Neurodevelopment in the first three years: implications for child development, professional practice and policy", Journal of Children's Services, Vol. 9 No. 2, pp. 154-164.

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Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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