Sequential Neurodevelopment

The BRAIN develops - and functions - in sequence, from the "bottom up" in response to experience over time.

   o  SEQUENTIAL DEVELOPMENT:   Mastering developmental milestones is critical for mastering subsequent developmental tasks.  Attached-attuned caregiving with attentive touch, verbal cues, and supportive activities allows the child's Brain-Body to progressively achieve appropriate activities for age.

   o  SEQUENTIAL FUNCTION:  All incoming sensory input is also received and processed "from the bottom up" - through the Brainstem - and then communicated to other parts of the brain (the midbrain, the cortex) for interpretation and action.

TRAUMA and RECOVERY:  Unbuffered deprivation (neglect) and traumatic experience are toxic to the developing brain - and can result in a child-adolescent being "stuck" at a level of level of development behind that expected for their age.  On the other hand, healthy relational interactions can offer regulating and rewarding experiences that shape development, can buffer current distress and heal past trauma.


Hambrick (2019). Timing of Early-Life Stress and the Development of Brain-Related Capacities.  Front Behav Neurosci  This study examined the association between severe adversity (eg domestic violence, caregiver drug use) and severe relational poverty (caregiver neglect, lack of attunement) during the first 2 months of life and brain-related function.  A severe lack of positive relational experiences in the first 2 months of life was associated with subsequent impairments in Sensory Integration and Self-Regulation.  

The Neurosequential Network.  A developmentally sensitive, neurobiology-informed approach to clinical problem-solving, developed by Bruce Perry, MD PhD.  Incorporates core principles of neurodevelopment to inform work with children and families.