Effect of Early Life Experiences on Adopted Children

Host Dawn Davenport interviewed Dr. Charles Nelson, Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and one of the leading experts on how early childhood neglect, abuse, malnutrition, institutionalization, and prenatal environment affects children.

Hit the Highlights
  • When adopting from foster care, what questions should you ask about pre-adoption environment and experiences to be gauge how impacted the child will be?
  • When adopting from abroad, what developmental and social/emotional warning signs should adoptive parents be aware of in children adopted from orphanages?
  • What are the effects of prenatal exposure to drugs, alcohol, metals, etc.?
  • At what age do the effects of drug and alcohol exposure develop?
  • What are the odds that a child that is developmentally normal in his pre-school years will develop later problems due to alcohol and drug exposure during pregnancy?
  • How common are attachment issues in children adopted at birth?
  • Are children exposed to drugs and alcohol in utero more susceptible to becoming addicted themselves later in life?
  • What are the affects of institutionalization on children raised in an orphanage?
  • What are some common behaviors of children raised in orphanages?
  • Do children raised in foster homes/ foster care escape the negative affects of institutionalization?
  • What are common behaviors of children who have been deprived of food early in life?
  • Is there scientific evidence of the primal wound theory?
  • How does maternal stress in pregnancy effect the child? Many expectant mothers who are considering adoption are highly stressed. Does this stress effect adopted children later in life?

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Image Credit: donnierayjones