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The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Infant Brain Development: Touch, Talk, Read, Play

Terri Combs-Orme, ProfessorCollege of Social Work

Although brain development is genetically programmed, its form and shape result from an infant's early experiences. In the last few decades, neuroscience research has dramatically illustrated the influence of early experiences on infant brain development through the use of new brain imaging technology. The Urban Child Institute (TUCI), a nonprofit whose goal is to enhance the lives of Memphis children, is taking this knowledge directly to parents. TUCI is currently offering one of the first programs for disadvantaged parents that utilizes the findings from neuroscience research to enhance the early brain development of infants in poverty. This presentation demonstrates the Touch-Talk-Read-Play program, which is being delivered by TUCI through the Neighborhood Christian Center, a faith-based organization. Program participants learn fundamental knowledge about the brain and its functions, as well as how ordinary experiences such as skin contact, talking to babies, and reading and playing with them influence brain development.‚Äč

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