Bolstering brain health in remote communities 

A grassroots project is enabling researchers to talk directly to parents in remote Indigenous communities about the importance of early brain development.

The ‘brain story’ engages parents and explains that giving their children a good start in life is important for the wellbeing of the whole community.

“Most of the brains connections are laid down very early in life and these are crucial for effective learning. Support and stimulation from adults builds babies brains – this is as important as good nutrition,” says Child Development Health Researcher, Bonnie Moss.

Critical information is presented to parents by using balloons that emulate the size and weight of the brain at various stages of development. These props help transform abstract theory into important practical advice for families with young children.

“These props are instrumental in transforming information from abstract theory into important knowledge sharing opportunities in our community,” Ms Moss said.

“The brain story tells parents that the growing brain is vulnerable to infections, accidents, stress, and the toxins found in alcohol and tobacco.”

Activities, and an accompanying DVD, contain messages for the whole community about the importance of a healthy start and nurturing relationships for building babies brains.