In this episode, our guests Michael Hogan (ARACY – Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth), Sally Staton (Queensland Brain Institute) and Vanya (child and family partner) describe the contributions that neuroscience can make to practice with children and families. They discuss how common understandings about children’s brain development can support the work of mental health professionals by focusing on every aspect of a child’s life.
Michael emphasises the potential of neuroscience to create a common language and framework for practice. Vanya describes the importance of developing shared understandings of neuroscience with parents and the positive effects this can have on the child’s unique needs. Sally explains the role of neuroscience in providing a common language in both practice and research and helping professionals understand the ‘why’ behind practices. She discusses the concept that brains are not just born but ‘built’, emphasising the crucial role of environments and relationships in brain development.
This episode explores neuroplasticity – the brain’s ability to change and adapt across the lifetime, and how this can promote a more hopeful position in work with children. Our guests provide practical examples of how understandings of neuroplasticity can assist practice when working with children and families. Sally also highlights the important role sleep plays in brain development, linking it to overall wellbeing, while Vanya shares her experiences in supporting her child’s journey through age-appropriate understandings of neuroplasticity and positive self-perception.
This episode combines research findings, personal experiences and practical applications. It serves as a valuable resource for practitioners, policymakers and anyone involved in supporting the wellbeing and development of children and families.
In this episode, you will learn:
- how to recognise the challenges of managing disjointed client information when dealing with multiple practitioners [01:01]
- how neuroscience provides a common language for practitioners and deepens the understanding of the ‘why’ behind practices [01:36]
- to recognise the challenges families with complex needs face in navigating various services and systems [03:07]
- the role neuroscience plays in building a common, contemporary science-informed knowledge base for practitioners [08:43]
- the positive impact neuroplasticity has on fostering hope, resilience and agency [10:31]
- the critical role of sleep in brain development and its link to overall wellbeing [29:41]
Further information and resources:
Understanding brain development (online course)
In focus: Child development (article)