Book Review: Bright from the Start by Jill Stamm and Paula Spencer

Bright from the Start: The Simple, Science-Backed Way to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind from Birth to Age 3 offers scientific reasoning behind some of the simplest truths. What makes this book stand out is DR Stamm’s academic background; a PhD in neuroscience and a very unique life experience.  She is a mother of two grown-up daughters.  One of them is severely intellectually disabled, and the other holds a PhD in neuroscience, just like her mother.

I was not initially blown over when I read the first couple of pages.  However, when I read the introduction in which Dr Stamm describes her experience in great detail, my eyes filled with tears.

She tells how her first daughter was born extremely premature and that it is a miracle that she even survived as she was still foetus at birth. She had been advised that her child would die soon and even if she survived, she wouldn’t be able to walk or talk.   It is difficult to imagine what she must have been going through.

The baby had to undergo a series of surgical interventions.  However, because her heart was very tiny and weak, they would operate without anaesthetics, as there was a risk she would not wake up if they did. They said that babies don’t feel pain and comforted her by saying that the baby would not remember anything (if she survived).

One thing is for sure,  Dr Stamm didn’t need the over-cited example of famous Romanian orphans to depict the kind of consequence an early trauma can leave on an infant’s developing brain.

This book is actually bright just like the title says. It brings the clear message that, regardless of our children’s natural potential, we are able to support brain development.

The author’s first daughter grew up to be a happy individual; she is my age now and is able to talk. Her second one is extraordinarily intelligent. Dr Stamm raised them both with an exclusive knowledge of a neuroscientist and true motherly devotion; willing to give her best effort to help her children thrive.

So, what did she do? What is her secret? According to Dr Jill Stamm, what babies really need is as simple as ABC – Attention, Communication and Bonding. She teaches us how to increase a child’s attention span, and how to keep a delicate balance between stimulating activities and the peaceful ones.

Dr Stamm emphasises the significance of developing emotional attachment between a child and a parent, pointing out the firm connection between attachment parenting and cognitive development of the baby. She also offers revolutionary advice on directing the link between verbal engagement with parents and higher IQ rates among children.

This book is definitely eye-opening; I would recommend it as an essential read for all parents and future ones too.

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