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"Study Quantifies Orphanage Link to I.Q."

Medical Research /foster Kids IQ 2007

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#1 sierraleone


    All things Great and Mischievous

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Posted 21 December 2007 - 01:32 PM

This study came near and dear to my heart. My family does respite for two foster families, and I quite like the tikes :) Even though they are trouble ;) (emotional & behavioral issues, developmentally delayed to various degrees)

All the kids we do respite for have been in more than two foster homes :(



Psychologists have long believed that growing up in an institution like an orphanage stunts children’s mental development but have never had direct evidence to back it up.

Now they do, from an extraordinary years-long experiment in Romania that compared the effects of foster care with those of institutional child-rearing.

The study, being published on Friday in the journal Science, found that toddlers placed in foster families developed significantly higher I.Q.’s by age 4, on average, than peers who spent those years in an orphanage.

The difference was large — eight points — and the study found that the earlier children joined a foster family, the better they did. Children who moved from institutional care to families after age 2 made few gains on average, though the experience varied by child. Both groups, however, had significantly lower I.Q.’s than a comparison group of children raised by their biological families.
“What makes this study important,” Dr. Pollak went on, “is that it gives objective data to say that if you’re going to allow international adoptions, then it’s a good idea to speed things up and get kids into families quickly.”
On I.Q. tests taken at 54 months, the foster children scored an average of 81, compared with 73 among the children who continued in an institution. The children who moved into foster care at the youngest ages tended to show the most improvement, the researchers found.

The comparison group of youngsters who grew up in their biological families had an average I.Q. of 109 at the same age, said the researchers, who announced their preliminary findings in Romania as soon as they were known.

“Institutions and environments vary enormously across the world and within countries,” Dr. Nelson said, “but I think these findings generalize to many situations, from kids in institutions to those in abusive households and even bad foster care arrangements.”
Any number of factors common to institutions could work to delay or blunt intellectual development, experts say: the regimentation, the indifference to individual differences in children’s habits and needs; and most of all, the limited access to caregivers, who in some institutions can be responsible for more than 20 children at a time.

Dr. Pollak said, “The evidence seems to say that for humans, we need a lot of responsive care giving, an adult who recognizes our distinct cry, knows when we’re hungry or in pain, and gives us the opportunity to crawl around and handle different things, safely, when we’re ready.”

Rules for surviving an Autocracy:

Rule#1: Believe the Autocrat.
Rule#2: Do not be taken in by small signs of normality.
Rule#3: Institutions will not save you.
Rule#4: Be outraged.
Rule#5: Don't make compromises.
Rule#6: Remember the future.
- Masha Gessen
Source: http://www2.nybooks....r-survival.html

#2 Kosh


    Criag Ferguson For President!

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Posted 21 December 2007 - 03:20 PM

Better to be around adults, and have more personal care.
Can't Touch This!!

#3 Nikcara


    confused little imp

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Posted 22 December 2007 - 01:20 AM

What I didn't see in here but which is a very important fact to note: the kids who get put into foster care the easiest are the ones who don't have a history of things like fetal alcohol syndrome, known to be crack babies, or more regular birth defects like cerbral palsy or autism.

Now, that's not to say I completely disagree with the findings.  It's well enough known that level of care and nurturing for children effect IQ levels, and with orphanges as big and understaffed as it sounds like those ones are there's bound to be a certain level of neglect no matter how hard the staff tries.
We have fourty million reasons for failure, but not a single excuse  -- Rudyard Kipling

Develop compassion for your enemies, that is genuine compassion.  Limited compassion cannot produce this altruism.  -- H. H. the Dalai Lama

#4 Rhea


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Posted 26 December 2007 - 12:15 PM

View PostNikcara, on Dec 21 2007, 10:20 PM, said:

What I didn't see in here but which is a very important fact to note: the kids who get put into foster care the easiest are the ones who don't have a history of things like fetal alcohol syndrome, known to be crack babies, or more regular birth defects like cerbral palsy or autism.

Absolutely. People want "cute" kids who look reasonably normal, not special needs kids. The foster families I know who take special needs kids are my heroes. No child who's been taken from his or her parents and gone from foster family to foster family is going to be entirely "normal." But people REALLY don't want the obviously disabled children. We have a pair of lesbian foster moms and gay foster dads, and both sets of partners have taken on a number of special needs children and they do it very well. Like I said, they're my heroes. And as for the people who think gay folks shouldn't be adoptive or foster parents, just imagine which digit I'm raising right now. ;)

So the data, while it makes sense (and I'm in no way belittling the results), is also skewed, because the most needy children are often left out. And many of them will never be able to take an IQ test.
The future is better than the past. Despite the crepehangers, romanticists, and anti-intellectuals, the world steadily grows better because the human mind, applying itself to environment, makes it better. With hands...with tools...with horse sense and science and engineering.
- Robert A. Heinlein

When I don’t understand, I have an unbearable itch to know why. - RAH

Everything is theoretically impossible, until it is done. One could write a history of science in reverse by assembling the solemn pronouncements of highest authority about what could not be done and could never happen.  - RAH

Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Medical Research, /foster Kids, IQ, 2007

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