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Sensory deprivation in children living in suboptimal care environments

26 March 2020
Volume 29 · Issue 6


Emeritus Professor Alan Glasper, from the University of Southampton, reflects on new research which illuminates the impact of sensory deprivation in early childhood

A group of academics from the University of Southampton and King's College London recently published research conducted with former children from Romania who were adopted in the wake of the fall of the Romanian communist regime led by the now infamous President Nicolae Ceauşescu. This longitudinal study has endeavoured to elucidate how early experiences in life shape individual development (Mackes et al, 2020).

After years of austerity, the people of Romania rebelled against the communist government. Ceauşescu and his wife were put on trial and executed on Christmas day 1989, paving the way for the country's reform and eventual membership of the European Union.

In the aftermath of this revolution, it quickly became apparent that Romania had a major child health crisis to resolve. This crisis had arisen because Ceauşescu had tried to emulate the philosophy of Stalin to increase the population of the country by outlawing abortion and contraception (Steavenson, 2014).

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