A closer look at the crucial period for brain and language development

The first 1001 days of a child’s life, from conception to the age of two, are of vital importance for the development of our complex brain. The brain structure (e.g. different cell types, connections between brain regions) is formed, which will determine a range of skills and cognitive abilities of the child later in life.

Een moeder en twee kleine kinderen met een tablet

This project will focus on language development, as an example of an important skill that is dependent on proper brain development. How do stimuli in the first 1001 days influence language acquisition (and disorders)? 

Utrecht boasts considerable research expertise on this subject. Our team consists of specialists on brain development from a biological and neuroscientific perspective, on language development in the brain and on linguistics and language development from a cognitive perspective.

The first 1001 critical days determine how a child functions throughout life, and dictate vulnerability to disease as well as chances in society. This leaves a range of possibilities for further research concerning the acquisition of skills (and developing disorders) during this crucial developmental period.

Manifesto: The 1001 Critical Days

A number of Dutch organisations (Dutch Association for Infant Mental Health, Dutch Association of Psychologists, the Association of Educationalists in the Netherlands (NVO) and Stichting Babywerk) have developed a Dutch version of the manifesto The 1001 Critical Days, which underscores the importance of this developmental period.

Dynamics of Youth needs you

Interested in this project? Please get in touch. Because for our new interdisciplinary projects to thrive and the Child Expertise Center to work we need you. Contact our executive director Petra van Dijk for further information: +31 30 253 67 80, P.M.vanDijk@uu.nl