When I first began a career in working with children, families and the systems they move through, I was trained in some of the most rudimentary behavioral modification strategies around. I'm sure they were "cutting-edge" at the time, but judging by the faded toner on the copies, I could tell this information was old, not individualized and very, very basic. I learned enough to assist clients in basic needs around hygiene and safety but my thoughts would go much deeper into the "why" of the child's developmental delays and the "hows" of increasing their opportunity for a better quality of life.
Over the past ten years, the information from academia about the neuroscience of the developing brain has begun influencing and informing practice in all variables working with children and their families. This information has provided me with some interesting ideas around these "why" and "hows" in my earlier career.
I know the importance of developmental neuroscience is directly concordant with the amount of funding that has been provided to researchers. I think back to my father's career in cancer research and AIDS research. In the 25 years of that work, through the millions of dollars in funding he'd utilized, he eventually walked away with about 13 patents and the world received transdermal patches and micro-bead technology. Certainly not a cure for cancer but progressive drug delivery systems that make living with cancer more bearable.
Occasionally I reassure myself that maybe the most satisfaction I will get out of a job will be the acknowledgement that I have made a family system more easy to navigate or a child's day more bearable to live through. There may never be a cure for cancer, and the map of the developing brain is most likely a fractal infinity, but with enough research and practical application of the results of such, I believe the world for treatments for children and families with neurological disorders is getting broader and more accessible to everyone.
There can be no keener revelation of a society's soul
than the way in which it treats its children.