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The Cognitive Impact of Poverty: Implications for Teaching

The Cognitive Impact of Poverty: Implications for Teaching

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Numerous studies have shown the impact of poverty on the brain. Individuals who grow up in impoverished environments generally have less developed cognitive capacity than their more advantaged peers. The impact of underdeveloped cognitive ability can be a serious impediment to academic achievement and life success.

Neuroscience research is also showing how the plasticity of the brain offers the potential to close the cognitive gap with new tools and approaches that can lead to rapid academic gains and a leveling of the learning field.


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  • I participated in the webinar on Tuesday. The information was/is very much relevant to the teachers I am working with. I would like to share my learning and encourage teachers to watch the webinar.
    I would like to upload/have a printed copy of the power-point. How can I obtain that.

    • Hi, Rosalia. I’m glad you found the webinar helpful. I’ll send you a link to the slides via email.

  • Good information on a critical subject. The implications of neuroplasticity give hope to those who have long been considered beyond the possibilities of intervention. Teachers can use many strategies to reach those with developmental disabilities. It takes research and patience, but will improve the lives of millions of forgotten students and young adults.

  • The Cognitive Impact of Poverty
    I appreciate the medical information about the brain, and I was surprised at the extent of development deficits due to socio-economic factors. We educators observe that these students come to school with unfortunate “baggage”, but are not aware of the brain development cause-and-effect. Thank you for the strategies for coping and adapting for student learning.

    • So glad that you found it helpful. We find that many educators feel frustrated when they start to understand the impact of poverty on cognitive development and empowered when they start to understand what they can do to support these students.

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