The Secret Life of 4-Year-Olds has won a Broadcast Award! We won for Best Popular Factual Program broadcast in 2015. This is really great news.
I’ve got so many of these that I started a special page for them! It’s here: https://samwassblog.wordpress.com
Lonnie Zwaigenbaum and Susan Bryson, at the University of Alberta, were some of the first researchers to track the very earliest stages in the emergence of Autism Spectrum Disorders. They did this by identifying a cohort of high-risk infants, and tracking them longitudinally, from birth. By the time they were three, a proportion of these… Continue reading Azrieli Foundation/Brain Canada funds a project to look at training attention in infants at risk of Autism.
Learning is an inherently social activity – like pretty much everything humans do. But virtually everything we know about the brain has been learnt by studying individual human brains in isolation. The most popular technique, fMRI, involves measuring peoples’ brains while they are encased, on their own, in a giant 3m x 8m, humming metal… Continue reading ESRC funds a project to look at mother-child synchrony in brain activation patterns.
For my recent research we have been looking at arousal and excitement in infants, and how this relates to infants’ capacities to learn. One metaphor I like to use for understanding children is that they are like a speedboats with very powerful engines, but small rudders. Neuroimaging research suggests that the emotional parts of the brain… Continue reading More ‘stressable’ infants learn better
For the past couple of years I have been involved in the development of a program made by RDF television for Channel 4 called ‘The Secret Life of 4-, 5- and 6-Year-Olds’. We made a pilot episode for this, that broadcast last February, that obtained the highest ratings for any documentary that year! As a… Continue reading Wellcome Trust funds ‘The Secret Life of 4-, 5- and 6-Year-Olds’, a new series for RDF/Channel 4.
Rett syndrome is a debilitating condition caused by a mutation on the MECP2 gene. People with the condition, who tend almost exclusively to be girls, are wheel-chair bound for all of their life. The genetic mutation that causes it causes atypicalities all over the brain but these tend to manifest most acutely in the parts of the brain… Continue reading Rett Foundation funds project to look at early attention development in girls with Rett syndrome
One obvious follow-on project from the work I’ve done, looking at new techniques to train concentration in young babies, is to look at whether early training can be applied to infants who are in early stages of developing Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. With Mark Johnson and Emily Jones (at Birkbeck), Patrick Bolton, Tony Charman and Andrew… Continue reading MQ-charity funds a project to look at training attention control in infants at risk of ADHD
In everyday life, babies are constantly making fine eye movements which are barely visible. The frequency of these movements has been thought to show how engaged an infant is with what they are looking at, and how quickly they process what they are seeing. In this study, run with colleagues at Birkbeck College, in London,… Continue reading Babies who move their eyes more frequently aged 6 months are more likely to develop Autism Spectrum Disorders in early childhood.
With Susan Leekam, Jon Eriksen and Georgie Powell at Cardiff University we have received funding from the Wellcome Trust for a small-scale pilot intervention project to explore how children with severe Autism Spectrum Disorders respond to the attention training paradigms I developed.