Child Development https://mag.uchicago.edu/tags/child-development en Babyography https://mag.uchicago.edu/science-medicine/babyography <div class="field field--name-field-letter-box-story-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/story/images/18Spring_Allen_Babyography.jpg" width="2000" height="1000" alt="Babyography" title="Babyography" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </div> <span><span lang="" about="/profile/admin" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">admin</span></span> <span>Thu, 05/03/2018 - 16:44</span> <div class="field field--name-field-caption field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>(All photography by Nathan Keay)</p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-refauthors field--type-entity-reference field--label-visually_hidden"> <div class="field--label sr-only">Author</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field--item"> <div about="/author/susie-allen-ab09"> <a href="/author/susie-allen-ab09"> <div class="field field--name-name field--type-string field--label-hidden field--item">Susie Allen, AB’09</div> </a> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refsource field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/publication-sources/university-chicago-magazine" hreflang="en">The University of Chicago Magazine</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-issue field--type-text field--label-hidden field--item">Spring/18</div> <div class="field field--name-field-subhead field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Since 1928, families have documented childhood landmarks in a book rich with history.</p></div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Today, many infant milestones, from first steps to first words, are captured on smartphones and shared with friends and family in minutes.</p> <p>But before the era of FaceTiming with Grandma, there was <em>Our Baby’s First Seven Years</em>, a baby book created by Mothers’ Aid of Chicago Lying-In Hospital and currently produced by the Chicago Lying-In Hospital board of directors. Part keepsake volume and part medical advice, <em>Our Baby’s First Seven Years</em> continues to give parents a lasting way to track the growth and development of their newborn, year by year. It’s still in production today, nearly a century after it was first published.</p> <div class="story-inline-img"> <figure role="group"><img alt="Our Baby’s First Seven Years" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="dede39e5-a9ba-4f6e-b45b-08ba644679b0" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/18Spring_Allen_babyography_SpotA.jpg" /><figcaption>Once reserved primarily for wealthy families, baby books grew in popularity through the 20th century. Some, like <em>Our Baby’s First Seven Years</em>, were intended as both keepsakes and instruction manuals for parents. The information—and style—of the books changed with the times. The midcentury flair of this edition from 1958 was replaced by a new look in the 1980 edition (below).</figcaption></figure></div> <p>The book “provides a record you can refer to for the rest of a child’s life,” says Gail McClain, a board member who worked on the eighth edition, released in 2013.</p> <p>The idea for <em>Our Baby’s First Seven Years</em> was birthed by Joseph Bolivar DeLee, the reformist founder of the Chicago Lying-In Hospital and a pioneer in the field of obstetrics. When DeLee began his career at Northwestern’s medical school in 1888, he grew appalled by what he deemed “unclean” and “ignorant” birthing practices. Maternal mortality in the United States was alarmingly high at the time—one woman died for every 154 live births. Many of these lives were claimed by so-called childbed fever, a common and devastating postpartum infection.</p> <div class="story-inline-img"> <figure role="group"><img alt="Our Baby’s First Seven Years" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="9891e963-a036-4503-9335-828e1d0aa087" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/18Spring_Allen_babyography_SpotB.jpg" /><figcaption>The 1980 edition of <em>Our Baby’s First Seven Years</em>.</figcaption></figure></div> <p>DeLee advocated for a variety of practices he believed would protect the safety of mothers and infants. He emphasized a clean environment and the use of sterile sheets, gloves, mouth cloths, and gowns, even for natural deliveries, and, when necessary, the use of forceps.</p> <p>Of particular concern to DeLee were mothers living in poverty. He hoped to create a facility specifically designed to help these women give birth safely and free of charge. In 1895 he opened the Chicago Lying-In Hospital and Dispensary at the corner of Maxwell Street and Newberry Avenue, near Hull House. The hospital also offered training to doctors, medical students, and nurses eager to learn about DeLee’s ideas.</p> <div class="story-inline-img"> <figure role="group"><img alt="Our Baby’s First Seven Years" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="93789c86-77f8-4b79-aab5-0818404efb6d" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/18Spring_Allen_babyography_SpotC.jpg" /><figcaption>The 1958 edition of <em>Our Baby’s First Seven Years.</em></figcaption></figure></div> <p>In 1927, with the Chicago Lying-In Hospital thriving, DeLee partnered with the University of Chicago, which agreed to fund the construction of a new hospital building in Hyde Park that opened in 1931. Seven years later, the Chicago Lying-In Hospital officially merged with the University of Chicago Clinics.</p> <p>As labor and delivery grew safer in the early 20th century, baby books grew in popularity. Wealthy families in particular bought the keepsake volumes to store photographs of the newborn and to record lists of gifts and congratulations received. DeLee believed they could serve a more serious purpose.</p> <div class="story-inline-img"> <figure role="group"><img alt="Our Baby’s First Seven Years" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="4d49c915-3f67-4cc1-8f6f-ffe6417816b0" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/18Spring_Allen_babyography_SpotD.jpg" /><figcaption>Some of the early versions, including the 1958 edition, dedicated a page to recording childrens’ questions about the birds and the bees.</figcaption></figure></div> <p>A baby book, he wrote in the foreword to the first edition of <em>Our Baby’s First Seven Years</em>, “should have all the delicate and lovely sentiments attaching to the birth and beginnings of life of the new individual, but it should have more than this. It should be a record showing the gradual physical and spiritual development of the body and soul. … A study of 1000 baby books such as this, if filled out carefully, will give valuable information in every department of medicine.” Then, as now, proceeds from the book went toward research and patient care.</p> <p>Each edition of <em>Our Baby’s First Seven Years</em> has changed to reflect new knowledge about child development—and with the times. Gone are outdated descriptions of temperament (a child might be phlegmatic, sanguine, choleric, or melancholic, according to the first edition) and warnings to correct habits such as finger sucking and nose rubbing. A section once titled “Mother’s Notes” became “Parents’ Notes” in the 1980s.</p> <div class="story-inline-img"> <figure role="group"><img alt="Our Baby’s First Seven Years" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="9b047ab6-1ce4-4f42-b622-4dc32e7e5556" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/18Spring_Allen_babyography_SpotE.jpg" /><figcaption>The 1978 edition of <em>Our Baby’s First Seven Years</em>.</figcaption></figure></div> <p>While inventories of physical and behavioral milestones are a constant, not everything stood the test of time. Several early editions included a page, “Questions Pertaining to Sex” (parents were to record “Question asked,” “Age,” “Answer,” and “By Whom”), that disappeared by the 1970s.</p> <p>To prepare the 2013 edition, McClain says, she and other board members “went to the experts”—pediatricians, dentists, dietitians, teachers at the Laboratory Schools. They removed information on how much a child should weigh at particular ages, for instance, because faculty members advised them that earlier editions didn’t reflect enough variation in normal and healthy weight.</p> <p>The book, which has sold more than eight million copies through hospital gift shops around the country and now online, is familiar to many families. In the course of revising the book, “it was incredible,” McClain recalls. “So many people said, ‘I had one!’”</p> <div class="story-inline-img"> <figure role="group"><img alt="Our Baby’s First Seven Years" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="1410374a-0ae0-4077-ac64-6aa7d326ef32" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/18Spring_Allen_babyography_SpotF.jpg" /><figcaption>Seemingly no memory or detail is too small for <em>Our Baby’s First Seven Years</em>, which, as in the 1978 edition, includes checklists of important developmental milestones.</figcaption></figure></div> <p>Pat Brend’s family has copies of <em>Our Baby’s First Seven Years</em> for four generations. She remembers her mother filling out her book and even storing her report cards in its pages (“some years that was a good memory,” she says).</p> <p>Brend carried on the tradition with her two sons. She filled out each book completely, she says: “I was very thorough.” And she noticed some changes. Her book had a question about favorite radio programs; her sons’ asked about TV shows.</p> <div class="story-inline-img"> <figure role="group"><img alt="Our Baby’s First Seven Years" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="9e39a84b-a59e-4808-8a13-97b0675811f0" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/18Spring_Allen_babyography_SpotG.jpg" /><figcaption>The eighth edition of <em>Our Baby’s First Seven Years</em>, which was released in 2013.</figcaption></figure></div> <p>Brend recently bought a copy for her fifth great-grandchild—the other four have their own copies too. Just as she and her parents and children did, her grandchildren have copies of <em>Our Baby’s First Seven Years</em> in which to lovingly document favorite foods, names of friends, and lost teeth, page by page, generation by generation.</p> <p><em>Updated 05.10.2018 to include Mothers</em>’<em> Aid of Chicago Lying-In Hospital as the original creator of </em>Our Baby’s First Seven Years.</p> <p><em>Updated 05.15.2018 to correct Pat Brend</em>’s<em> last name.</em></p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-reftopic field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/topics/science-medicine" hreflang="en">Science &amp; Medicine</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/child-development" hreflang="en">Child Development</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refuchicago field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/university-chicago-medicine" hreflang="en">The University of Chicago Medicine</a></div> </div> <span class="a2a_kit a2a_kit_size_32 addtoany_list" data-a2a-url="https://mag.uchicago.edu/science-medicine/babyography" data-a2a-title="Babyography"><a class="a2a_button_facebook"></a><a class="a2a_button_twitter"></a><a class="a2a_button_google_plus"></a><a class="a2a_button_print"></a><a class="a2a_dd addtoany_share_save" href="https://www.addtoany.com/share#url=https%3A%2F%2Fmag.uchicago.edu%2Fscience-medicine%2Fbabyography&amp;title=Babyography"></a></span> Thu, 03 May 2018 21:44:49 +0000 admin 6894 at https://mag.uchicago.edu Labor and love https://mag.uchicago.edu/law-policy-society/labor-and-love <div class="field field--name-field-letter-box-story-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/1502_Putre_Love-labor.png" width="700" height="325" alt="" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </div> <span><span lang="" about="/profile/rsmith" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">rsmith</span></span> <span>Tue, 12/23/2014 - 11:07</span> <div class="field field--name-field-caption field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Doula support can change the way young mothers interact with their babies. (Photography by Lloyd Degrane)</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refauthors field--type-entity-reference field--label-visually_hidden"> <div class="field--label sr-only">Author</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field--item"> <div about="/author/laura-putre"> <a href="/author/laura-putre"> <div class="field field--name-name field--type-string field--label-hidden field--item">Laura Putre</div> </a> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refsource field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/publication-sources/university-chicago-magazine" hreflang="en">The University of Chicago Magazine</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-issue field--type-text field--label-hidden field--item">Jan–Feb/15</div> <div class="field field--name-field-subhead field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Doulas can make an important difference for young, low-income mothers and their babies.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>When <a href="http://www.healthconnectone.org/pages/tikvah_wadley/160.php" target="_blank">Tikvah Wadley</a> encourages a young mom to read to her baby, she often gets a stunned response. “They are like, ‘Read?’” Wadley says. “And I say, ‘Yeah, she likes your voice, she likes to hear from you.’”</p> <p>A gentle woman with a sparkle in her voice, Wadley has been by the side of hundreds of adolescent mothers in her South Side community during pregnancy, childbirth, and beyond. She’s a doula—or support person for a new mom—whose roles include parenting coach, hand holder, comforter, and advocate. Doulas are perhaps more popularly associated with upper-middle-class women who can afford to pay for their help, but a project by <a href="http://ssascholars.uchicago.edu/s-hans/" target="_blank">Sydney Hans</a>, the Samuel Deutsch Professor at UChicago’s <a href="http://www.ssa.uchicago.edu" target="_blank">School of Social Service Administration</a>, showed that community doulas, including Wadley, could make a big difference in the lives of young, low-income African American moms and their babies.</p> <p>Throughout her career, Hans has studied risk and resilience in families and the long-term effects of early life experiences. As an undergraduate at <a href="http://www.cornell.edu" target="_blank">Cornell University</a>, she majored in human development and family studies; her PhD from <a href="http://www.harvard.edu" target="_blank">Harvard</a> is in psychology and social relations. Hans’s scholarly focus formed in her early days at UChicago. She first joined the faculty in 1978, as a member of the <a href="https://psychiatry.uchicago.edu" target="_blank">psychiatry department</a> (her move to the SSA came in 2005), and in psychiatry, she studied the cognitive development of babies whose mothers were using drugs during pregnancy.</p> <p>Hans expected to see brain damage in the children, whom she and her team followed until they were teenagers, “and we didn’t,” she says. Instead, she identified only subtle cognitive deficits in attention. “The big thing we saw was that children who had caring, really supportive parents—and many addicted women fell into that category, or there were family members who fell into that category—those kids did OK. And some of them thrived.”</p> <p>The children without such support struggled. “It became really apparent to me how important those relationships in the first year were in providing those kids with a strong emotional foundation for everything that was to come.”</p> <p>Hans became interested in the work of doulas through <a href="http://harris.uchicago.edu/about/legacy-of-irving-b-harris" target="_blank">Irving B. Harris</a>, child advocate and philanthropist (and namesake of the University of Chicago <a href="http://harris.uchicago.edu" target="_blank">Harris School of Public Policy</a>). In the mid-1990s, Harris helped fund three doula programs, collectively called the Chicago Doula Project, which partnered with established teen parenting programs. He was looking for research data on whether the programs actually worked, and he came to Hans to help him find it. “I started visiting these programs and seeing what they were like on the ground,” she says.</p> <p>She was impressed. “It wasn’t an adult coming to them and saying, ‘We’re going to teach you to be a good parent.’ ... It was an adult coming to them and saying, ‘Boy, you’re having a baby soon, and that’s a big deal.’” Especially for teen moms-to-be who are frightened and perhaps uncertain about their futures. “Here’s this warm, caring woman who basically says, ‘I want to be with you throughout this whole thing’”—through the pregnancy and the labor and afterward—“‘and I won’t leave you until everything’s OK.’ That really resonated with these teenagers, and it was something they really did want,” Hans says.</p> <p>In 2001, with a federal <a href="http://mchb.hrsa.gov" target="_blank">Maternal and Child Health Bureau</a> grant and the support of UChicago’s <a href="http://pediatrics.uchicago.edu" target="_blank">Department of Pediatrics</a>, Hans launched a fourth site of the Chicago Doula Project at the University of Chicago to put some data behind her observations on doula intervention.</p> <p>Her research affirmed the doula model. One study, published in <em><a href="http://pediatrics.aappublications.org" target="_blank">Pediatrics</a></em> in November 2013, looked at breast-feeding—“an important public health goal,” Hans says. She found that 64 percent of mothers with community doula support through 12 weeks postpartum attempted to breast-feed their babies immediately after birth, compared to 50 percent of mothers in a control group. Mothers with doula support were also much more likely to continue breast-feeding longer than six weeks.</p> <p>In another study, published in <em><a href="http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1002/(ISSN)1097-0355" target="_blank">Infant Mental Health Journal</a></em>, Hans found that moms with doulas did better at encouraging their infants’ learning at four months—by talking to the baby, using animated voices, and making expressive faces—than moms without doulas. They were also more likely to respond quickly when their babies were in distress.</p> <p>Hans recorded video of mothers with their babies at four months, one year, and two years. The differences in parenting faded over time, which Hans says is an indication that good parenting behaviors need reinforcement with home visits beyond the first few months after a baby is born. “And the doulas got them looking into their babies’ eyes and having conversations with them when they were teeny tiny—they need to be reminded of those things,” Hans says. “They’re living in communities that are under a lot of stress, where the kind of interactions with young children may not always be what we now know are most supportive of brain development and other good outcomes.”</p> <p>The four doulas worked out of two South Side prenatal clinics. Three had breast-fed their own babies, “which made them very unusual in their communities,” says Hans. One had been a parent to a teen mom; the others had been teen moms themselves.</p> <p>Wadley was working as a medical aide when she heard about the project. “I was like, ‘Yeah, I want to do that. I know what it’s like to be in labor and delivery and not have anyone.’”</p> <p>Wadley, whose children are grown now, had her first pregnancy at 17 and hid it until her third trimester. She learned to breast-feed unexpectedly, from a woman who, not unlike a doula, was caring but not a family member. She was a staffer at a federal aid office where Wadley had come asking for formula. Wadley and her newborn were nearly penniless, but because she’d only just started working, she couldn’t produce proof that her income was low enough to qualify for formula from the <a href="http://www.fns.usda.gov/wic/women-infants-and-children-wic" target="_blank">Women, Infants, and Children</a> program. Instead, the WIC staffer taught her how to breast-feed in the back room. “She said, ‘You can still feed your baby,’” Wadley recalls. Crying, Wadley asked how. The WIC staffer explained, “You can feed your baby with your chest.”</p> <p>Today Hans continues her research with studies on doula intervention for at-risk moms in four communities across Illinois. She hopes to follow the children until they’re a year old, or beyond. “These are programs,” she says, “where they have the opportunity to remain engaged for the long haul.”</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-reftopic field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/topics/law-policy-society" hreflang="en">Law, Policy &amp; Society</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/child-development" hreflang="en">Child Development</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/parenting" hreflang="en">Parenting</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/children" hreflang="en">Children</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/mothers-day" hreflang="en">Mother&#039;s Day</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refuchicago field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/chicago-harris" hreflang="en">Harris Public Policy</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-relatedstories field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>“<a href="http://www.ssa.uchicago.edu/nurturing-caring-relationship" target="_blank">A Nurturing, Caring Relationship</a>” (<em>SSA Magazine</em>, Summer/14) “<a href="http://magazine.uchicago.edu/0312/research/inv-doulas.shtml" target="_blank">Doulas Aid Young Mothers</a>” (<em>University of Chicago Magazine</em>, Dec/03)</p> </div> <span class="a2a_kit a2a_kit_size_32 addtoany_list" data-a2a-url="https://mag.uchicago.edu/law-policy-society/labor-and-love" data-a2a-title="Labor and love"><a class="a2a_button_facebook"></a><a class="a2a_button_twitter"></a><a class="a2a_button_google_plus"></a><a class="a2a_button_print"></a><a class="a2a_dd addtoany_share_save" href="https://www.addtoany.com/share#url=https%3A%2F%2Fmag.uchicago.edu%2Flaw-policy-society%2Flabor-and-love&amp;title=Labor%20and%20love"></a></span> Tue, 23 Dec 2014 17:07:27 +0000 rsmith 4284 at https://mag.uchicago.edu Child support https://mag.uchicago.edu/education-social-service/child-support <div class="field field--name-field-letter-box-story-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/1402_Demanski_Child-support.png" width="700" height="325" alt="" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </div> <span><span lang="" about="/profile/jmiller" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">jmiller</span></span> <span>Mon, 12/23/2013 - 11:57</span> <div class="field field--name-field-caption field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>(Center for American Progress, CC BY–ND 2.0)</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refauthors field--type-entity-reference field--label-visually_hidden"> <div class="field--label sr-only">Author</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field--item"> <div about="/author/laura-demanski-am94"> <a href="/author/laura-demanski-am94"> <div class="field field--name-name field--type-string field--label-hidden field--item">Laura Demanski, AM’94</div> </a> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refsource field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/publication-sources/university-chicago-magazine" hreflang="en">The University of Chicago Magazine</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-issue field--type-text field--label-hidden field--item">Jan–Feb/14</div> <div class="field field--name-field-subhead field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>A new leader brings policy-world experience to Chapin Hall’s vital research on families’ well-being.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>This September Bryan Samuels, AM’93, became executive director of Chapin Hall. With 50 experts on staff, the University-affiliated center conducts research designed to inform US policy affecting children and families, including the foster care system, early through secondary education, community development, and juvenile justice. Chapin Hall takes a special interest in the most vulnerable populations.</p> <p>Samuels was previously commissioner of the Administration on Children, Youth, and Families at the US Department of Health and Human Services; chief of staff at Chicago Public Schools; and director of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. The move brought him home full time; during his five years in the capital, he commuted from Chicago, where his wife, Gina Samuels, is an associate professor at the School of Social Service Administration studying transracial adoption and foster care. The <em>Magazine</em>’s interview with him is condensed and edited below.</p> <p><strong>Chicago to Washington</strong></p> <p>When I was at CPS from 2007 to 2009, about 550 current students were shot or killed. We wanted to provide more evidence-based interventions related to trauma and violence in the schools that were most impacted. But we didn’t have ongoing funding to support those programs. A whole host of studies demonstrate that being exposed to ongoing or chronic interpersonal violence changes the physiologic, biologic, and neurologic systems in young people as they develop. So one of the goals of going to DC was to see whether we could influence Medicaid policies in ways that would allow states to use it as a vehicle for addressing the trauma-related issues that many poor students face.</p> <p><strong>Sea change</strong></p> <p>After a lot of hard work with the Department of Health and Human Services, they wrote a [federal policy guidance] memo last July that went to every state Medicaid officer, state mental health agency executive, and child welfare director in the country. The memo said that based on the science, the federal government believes that child trauma that comes from abuse and neglect or from exposure to violence meets the standard of medical necessity. Therefore states can use federal Medicaid dollars to address trauma-related issues. It was really unusual for them to be willing to make this statement. But I think we convinced them with lots of data.</p> <p><strong>Imperfect information</strong></p> <p>The four years I was child services director for the State of Illinois, it was the worst job I ever had but the most rewarding. As much as people would like to believe that child welfare should know all of the right things to do, it’s probably wrongheaded for folks to think it is by definition an evidence-based intervention. Child welfare does what it does because there are really vulnerable children and families that need protecting. But it’s not like you could go to the library and read about all the important issues and know how to make a child welfare system better.</p> <p><strong>Next-generation research</strong></p> <p>Chapin Hall’s Fred Wulczyn, PhD’86, who’s mainly focused on child welfare, is doing important work using large databases to knit together the stories of what policies are working and not working. He’s quite literally in the position to simulate, if you changed this particular child welfare policy, what would be the ripple effect across the rest of the system? If we can build that kind of work across other public systems, it would be transformative in helping states make the right decisions about how to use really limited dollars.</p> <p><strong>Perspective shift</strong></p> <p>Working here is one step removed from the policy-making process. I won’t have the day-to-day decision making that goes into spending money and making sure it’s being spent in the right way; this job gives me the chance to step back from that process and figure out how as a research institute we help leaders do a better job of making decisions. Having been a consumer of Chapin Hall’s products, I’m in a good position to help shape the way our people approach each project to make the most useful product for the client. That’s the perspective that I bring, hopefully one that will help our clients make hard decisions but make the right decisions.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-reftopic field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/topics/education-social-service" hreflang="en">Education &amp; Social Service</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/foster-care" hreflang="en">Foster Care</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/child-development" hreflang="en">Child Development</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refformats field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/formats/interview" hreflang="en">Interview</a></div> <span class="a2a_kit a2a_kit_size_32 addtoany_list" data-a2a-url="https://mag.uchicago.edu/education-social-service/child-support" data-a2a-title="Child support"><a class="a2a_button_facebook"></a><a class="a2a_button_twitter"></a><a class="a2a_button_google_plus"></a><a class="a2a_button_print"></a><a class="a2a_dd addtoany_share_save" href="https://www.addtoany.com/share#url=https%3A%2F%2Fmag.uchicago.edu%2Feducation-social-service%2Fchild-support&amp;title=Child%20support"></a></span> Mon, 23 Dec 2013 17:57:47 +0000 jmiller 2678 at https://mag.uchicago.edu Words to live by https://mag.uchicago.edu/science-medicine/words-live <div class="field field--name-field-letter-box-story-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/1402_Dagostino_Words-to-live-by.png" width="700" height="325" alt="" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </div> <span><span lang="" about="/profile/jmiller" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">jmiller</span></span> <span>Mon, 12/23/2013 - 11:11</span> <div class="field field--name-field-caption field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Don’t just do it, talk them through it, is a Thirty Million Words mantra. (Photography by Beth Suskind)</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refauthors field--type-entity-reference field--label-visually_hidden"> <div class="field--label sr-only">Author</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field--item"> <div about="/author/emily-dagostino"> <a href="/author/emily-dagostino"> <div class="field field--name-name field--type-string field--label-hidden field--item">Emily Dagostino</div> </a> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refsource field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/publication-sources/university-chicago-magazine" hreflang="en">The University of Chicago Magazine</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-issue field--type-text field--label-hidden field--item">Jan–Feb/14</div> <div class="field field--name-field-subhead field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Dana Suskind leads an initiative to improve parental communication, a key factor in a child’s success.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>As early as age 3, kids born into poverty face a major disadvantage simply because those in more affluent homes have heard more words—on average, 30 million more—in their young lives. Dana Suskind could not tolerate this obstacle to the long-term potential of poor children. “We have this lack of school readiness, these kids who don’t even have a chance,” she says. “These kids we can look at right now, at the age of 2 ... and already know what their life course is.”</p> <p>To help change that course, Suskind, a pediatric cochlear-implant surgeon, founded the University of Chicago Medicine’s <a href="http://tmw.org/" target="_blank">Thirty Million Words Initiative</a> in 2009 with the goal of teaching parents and other early-childhood caregivers how to nurture brain development through frequent, high-quality communication.</p> <p>The Thirty Million Words Initiative tracks language development and provides feedback to families on their progress. It encourages parents to talk with their kids rather than to them. “The goal is to add more language and interactions to things they’re already doing, rather than adding more things to their already busy lives,” says Beth Suskind, Dana’s sister-in-law and the project’s codirector and director of innovation and social marketing.</p> <p>Using the mantra don’t just do it, talk them through it, Thirty Million Words offers strategies to incorporate conversation into routine activities. While dressing, feeding, or bathing children, parents are instructed to discuss the activities—which arm goes first while putting on a shirt, for example, or why hot weather makes shorts a good choice.</p> <p>In a randomized control trial with 40 families, the experimental group received eight weeks of lessons on topics including book sharing, numbers, and strategies for integrating more words into daily life. They wore a special recording device that tracked their interactions and words exchanged. At weekly home visits, Thirty Million Words team members reviewed families’ word totals to gauge progress and set new goals. During the intervention, in addition to speaking more with their kids, parents in the experimental group significantly increased back-and-forth conversation.</p> <p>A mother from one family said, “‘I made a lot of connections in my baby’s brain today,’” Beth Suskind remembers. “This was the way she had internalized it. I get goose bumps when I think of that one.”</p> <p>Dana Suskind’s colleagues describe her as a “dynamo,” “a force,” and “a tiny little person” with an infectious drive and a constant flow of ideas. “She never stops,” Beth Suskind says. “She actually runs to the restroom because she doesn’t want to miss the work time.”</p> <p>Lately she’s been running everywhere. Suskind was invited in September to join the advisory council for <a href="http://toosmall.org/" target="_blank">Too Small to Fail</a>, a Clinton Foundation and Next Generation initiative that promotes learning, health, and well-being for kids up to age 5. In October she participated in a White House event focused on closing the early language gap, and days later she presented, along with other speakers including secretary of education Arne Duncan, U-High’82, at <a href="http://www.educationnation.com/index.cfm?objectid=00CA0890-EE24-11E2-A6E3000C296BA163" target="_blank">NBC’s Education Nation Summit</a>. “There’s been this tremendous amount of momentum that, I swear, I think my husband is orchestrating this from above, because there’s no way that everything is happening at one time,” Suskind says.</p> <p>In August 2012 her husband, <a href="../science-medicine/ultimate-sacrifice" target="_self">Donald Liu</a>, who was section chief of pediatric surgery at University of Chicago Medicine’s Comer Children’s Hospital, drowned in Lake Michigan while attempting to aid two boys struggling in rough waters.</p> <p>Suskind and Liu came to the University of Chicago in 2001. She helped start the <a href="http://www.uchicagokidshospital.org/specialties/ent/hearing-loss/cochlear/index.html" target="_blank">pediatric cochlear implant program</a> at the University of Chicago Medicine five years later. The implants enable deaf and severely hearing-impaired children to hear electronically by capturing sound, translating it into digital signals and then electrical energy, and transmitting it to the auditory nerve. Through this work Suskind began noticing that her patients of lower socioeconomic status were experiencing less success with reading and speaking postimplant than those of higher status. Questioning why this disparity existed, she turned to social science experts, who directed her to a 1995 study by researchers Betty Hart and Todd Risley. The study found that poorer kids heard 30 million fewer words than wealthier kids by the time they reached age 3, leaving them less prepared for school and compromising their long-term potential.</p> <p>Moved by Hart and Risley’s study, Suskind created Project ASPIRE, an educational program for parents of children with hearing loss. Then she expanded the scope in an effort to teach all families the critical role talk plays in determining kids’ future success.</p> <p>Suskind and her team are now planning a long-term study tracking kids’ language development from birth until well into their school years. They recently received a grant from the Milgrom Foundation at the University to incorporate into the Universal Newborn Hearing Screen lessons for parents about the importance of language from the moment their baby is born. And they want to roll out Thirty Million Words Chicago, which would move beyond family homes to pediatricians’ offices, day care centers, schools, churches, and libraries.</p> <p>Suskind’s ideas drive and fuel the growth, but she’s quick to point out the array of expertise necessary to tackle such a complex issue. “I have incredible collaborators who I work with and an incredible team,” Suskind says. “I always say, God forbid it’s a surgeon who’s doing all of this. We’d only use a scalpel.”</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-reftopic field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/topics/science-medicine" hreflang="en">Science &amp; Medicine</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/communication" hreflang="en">Communication</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/child-development" hreflang="en">Child Development</a></div> </div> <span class="a2a_kit a2a_kit_size_32 addtoany_list" data-a2a-url="https://mag.uchicago.edu/science-medicine/words-live" data-a2a-title="Words to live by"><a class="a2a_button_facebook"></a><a class="a2a_button_twitter"></a><a class="a2a_button_google_plus"></a><a class="a2a_button_print"></a><a class="a2a_dd addtoany_share_save" href="https://www.addtoany.com/share#url=https%3A%2F%2Fmag.uchicago.edu%2Fscience-medicine%2Fwords-live&amp;title=Words%20to%20live%20by"></a></span> Mon, 23 Dec 2013 17:11:23 +0000 jmiller 2676 at https://mag.uchicago.edu