untreated, it can lead to
"glue ear" - where a main hearing "tube" becomes blocked with a
sticky composition that looks like glue. If that happens in both ears, a child can hardly
hear. And if an infant can't hear in the years that are vital for language
development - from birth to four years - he can be handicapped for life.
British research scientist Professor Michael Crawford
has spent more than ten years researching the impact of diet on pregnant women and their
babies. He's horrified at the overwhelming ignorance about the impact of nutrition on
the developing brain, especially before an infant is born.
"Every farmer and every gardener knows perfectly
well," he says, "that if he's going to have a good crop of potatoes, or if
he wants to grow great roses, he's not going to run out and put some fertilizer on
them the day before he wants to dig or pick them. He knows he's got to prepare the
roots, almost a year before, to get beautiful roses. It's common knowledge. Everyone
understands this as far as cabbages and roses are concerned. But mostly we don't even
think about it when it comes to preparing to have a baby."11
One university study shows that 22 percent of new
mothers are "at risk" - and nine percent could present a big physical danger
to their babies unless they receive extra support and education.12
Generally they don't get it. And the
self-perpetuating cycle of disadvantage continues. When they do get practical help, tied
in with parent education, the change in attitudes is dramatic. A few million dollars in
prevention saves billions later - in the cost of prisons and psychiatric care.
5. Early childhood development programs
Since 50 percent of the
ability to learn is developed in the first four years of life and another 30 percent by
age eight, then early childhood development programs should also be top priority. Most
countries reverse this. Current spending per student in most universities is much, much
more than elementary and high school - and all much more than preschool. Reversing the
ratios should become a national priority.
6. You can catch up at any stage
Good catch-up programs
abound. Many, as we will see, are at elementary or primary school. But even at the start
of high school it is not too late for most.
Contents Page Preface