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Extreme environments described

Watch this video. Professor Jane Barlow introduces research into the effect of extreme environments on children who experience them.

In Romania under the Ceauşescu regime (1967-1989) both abortion and contraception were forbidden, leading to a rise in birth rates. As a result many newborn babies were abandoned to be looked after in public orphanages. These orphanages were characterised by conditions of extreme deprivation, particularly human and sensory.

Environments of extreme neglect of this sort have provided a number of natural experiments, giving psychologists the opportunity to examine not only its impact on children who experience it, but also what happens when we attempt to make up for early deprivation of this sort by providing them with normal environments later in life.

This video describes what we have learned from these extreme environments about the needs of babies.

Romania was not the only country in which babies and toddlers were left in large numbers to be looked after by the state, and in which the children experienced severe neglect.

In the following three steps we have been given permission to share some clips with you, which were developed by HealthProm and the St Petersburg Intervention Institute. These clips are part of a longer film that is used to teach professionals to observe and interpret infant and child behaviour and understand the importance of attachment (Step 4.18: Glossary).

The clips are in Russian with English subtitles.

Note: Please note that at the beginning of the video, where Professor Barlow says “Since the middle of the last decade, there have been a number of examples of children being exposed…” Professor Barlow meant to say “Since the middle of the last century, there have been a number of examples of children being exposed…” We apologise for the mistake.

Every effort has been made to trace copyright holders for the image used in this film, and to obtain their permission for the use of copyright material. As we have been unable to do this, we would be grateful to be notified of any attributions that should be incorporated in future runs of this course.

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Babies in Mind: Why the Parent's Mind Matters

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