ATTENTION! THIS IS AN INTERVENTION.

ATTENTION! THIS IS AN INTERVENTION.

ATTENTION! THIS IS AN INTERVENTION.

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What are early interventions? And why is research into them so important?

Just like our babies, the field of developmental research is growing fast. We are constantly finding new methods and theories to explain processes – many of which you will have read about on this blog. Our understanding of childhood development has reached the point where, in addition to identifying potential developmental issues, we can also look out for their signs early on in infancy and take action to minimise the risks for our children. For example, if a mother notices that her baby still hasn’t said their first word by the time other babies are babbling away, she need not panic – this is what early interventions are designed for, and where they can really help out.

Early interventions are designed to identify children that may be at risk for developmental or learning difficulties (eg. if their parents or older siblings have/had the same difficulties), and help them learn the necessary skills as early as possible, usually before the age of three. This can take the form of therapy, counseling, special education, and other forms of specialised support or training. The idea is that in infancy, neural plasticity is greater. Neural plasticity is the idea that neural connections in the brain aren’t “set in stone” – new habits, behaviours and knowledge can be learned, old ones can be forgotten, useful ones can be practiced and maintained. Think of a girl sledding outside on a snowy day – if she sleds down the same tracks again and again, eventually those tracks will become engrained into the snow, making them faster and easier to sled on. The girl then goes inside for a break, comes back outside… and the tracks have been covered by the snow. Gone! So she looks for a new way to come down the hill, and that’s how she notices an even better, more fun slope, so she goes and forms new, better tracks somewhere else. Babies have it easy: the “snow” they’re sledding in is so much softer than adult snow. There are far fewer hard consolidated tracks, so they can create new pathways with ease. This is why baby brains are more responsive to learning, and can easily pick up habits that come in useful in new situations.

To make the most of this wonderful flexibility, it is vital that parents are able to provide a supportive environment where their baby can grow and learn to their full potential. Therefore, an ideal early intervention is one that enables the baby to grow while empowering their parents along the way by involving them in the sessions, consulting them about how their child learns best, and giving tips on what can be done outside session hours to encourage further learning and good habits. (Take a look at these Babybrains workshops which can help you learn more about your baby and understand how to build a quality parent-child relationship with both typically and atypically developing children).

As you can guess, a lot of research and testing must go into developing interventions so that they can be appropriately specialised, compelling and effective. A quality early intervention should be backed up by scientific research, developed specially for the disorder, and be regular, supportive and structured. While early interventions are already available for a wide range of additional needs, not much has been done with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). I currently have the absolute honour of being a voluntary research assistant on the Babylab’s Inter-STAARS study, which looks at the effect of a computer-based eye-tracking intervention for babies at a genetic risk of ADHD (meaning they already have a parent or sibling who has been diagnosed with it). This is a very new idea, and we don’t yet know if it works – but read on to see how we can find out.

Day to day, we visit families’ homes, set up our portable eye tracker, and show the baby a series of fun, colourful videos that respond to how the baby is looking at them. The baby focuses on a certain box on the screen, and a bright character with cheery music might appear; the baby looks away, and a cute animal on the screen disappears. These are just some examples of the exciting videos that have been put together by Dr Sam Wass at Cambridge to see whether we can train babies’ attention, focus and memory. By providing babies with fun, engaging videos, they are easily encouraged participate and interact with the intervention. In practice, we can take advantage of the brain’s plasticity to improve the function of the parts of the brain that we believe are responsible for mediating ADHD behaviours.

 

“Can Inter-STAARS diagnose my baby with ADHD?”

This is one of the most common questions we get while recruiting for our study. It is also one of the biggest misconceptions. Our answer is no, we can’t. Early interventions are designed to minimize the effects of a developmental issue, not diagnose it. Many symptoms of ADHD, such as restlessness and trouble focusing, are also perfectly normal behaviours for babies, who are still discovering the world around them and don’t have much patience for boring sit-down tasks. In rare cases, symptoms of ADHD can be seen in toddlers as young as three, however, most aren’t diagnosed until age seven, and some only realize in adolescence or adulthood that they might have the disorder. When we run the intervention study, we don’t know whether the infants have ADHD or will go on to have it – all we know is that ADHD can be inherited and so children who have parents with ADHD are more likely to develop ADHD themselves. Due to this, we want to intervene to train at-risk infants on aspects of their attentional control so that they can build up a resilience to any ADHD symptoms that would have emerged later in childhood. Regardless of how our participants go on to develop, those that complete the training study would have the chance to benefit from additional attention control skills while having had a little extra fun with us, helping the progress of science.

 

“Why do you have to come to my home? Why isn’t this done in a lab?”

Two suitcases, one pop-up tent, a monitor, portable eye-tracker, speaker, stand, webcam, laptop, and apple rice cakes. We don’t carry all this equipment across London just because we get bored in our office. It is important that early interventions are carried out in a natural setting where both the parent and baby feel comfortable and relaxed. In addition, by training in a familiar environment, babies can more easily apply any learned skills to their everyday activities. Babies learn best when they are around familiar people, and sitting on their parents’ lap during the intervention allows them to have access to comfort and reassurance at all times. Throughout the sessions, parents and babies can take breaks, have snacks, interact with the researchers – some babies are so relaxed that they may decide to take a nap halfway through a session!  Not much data there, but babies have a mind of their own, and we never ask them to sit through a whole session if they are tired or restless. Effective learning of skills happens when an activity is consistently regular and in line with schedules and family life – so we will always tailor our visits around what suits the family as a whole, working around job, school, nursery and nap times. This is why Inter-STAARS, and early interventions in general, are best suited for the home environment as opposed to the lab.

 

“I don’t want my baby watching TV. Is this study right for them?”

As developmental researchers, we are aware that parents might have this concern, which is why we have gone to great lengths to ensure that our study is engaging, stimulating, and ethically approved by the NHS. Of course, it is still up to you as a parent to decide how much screen time you want your baby to have. Our intervention study consists of 12 short weekly visits, which is around 2 hours’ screen time a month – about the length of the new Incredibles movie, and far below the average amount of time that a child under 2 years spends watching TV. Add to that an atmosphere where the baby gets to interact with our friendly researchers, spend quality time with their caregiver, and potentially train their attention and memory, and the study becomes less about screen time and more about providing the baby with a wholesome, interactive experience.

 

“Does the intervention work?”

This is exactly what the study is trying to find out. A previous study has found that this intervention improves certain aspects of attentional control in infants who are not at risk of any developmental problems, and we are hoping it has the same, positive effect for babies who are at a genetic risk for ADHD. We will only find out by comparing the performance of the babies that receive the attention training to the babies that receive the “placebo” training (an alternative set of videos which have not shown any effect on attention skills). If shown to have an effect, the training could be implemented on a larger scale for babies who may show lower attentional control in infancy, or babies who are at risk of other developmental disorders affecting attention, including Autism Spectrum Disorder. Having the opportunity to work on these important cognitive skills while the brain is still developing could mean that babies would go on to build more meaningful emotional connections, and be better mentally equipped to carry out numerous tasks and activities that require just that little bit of extra memory, focus and attention. From here on, the potential benefits for their mental and emotional wellbeing would be countless.

Inter-STAARS is due to carry on until December 2018. If you have a baby under 14 months with a parent or sibling with ADHD, and would like to know more or participate in the study, feel free to contact Amy at the Babylab on 0207 079 0761  or staars@bbk.ac.uk.

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Silvia DALVIT MÉNABÉ

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TERMS AND CONDITIONS

Please take a moment to read the Terms and Conditions for the use of the Babybrains® website and service. Click "I agree" to access our science-based fun content.

Background

This agreement applies as between you, the User of this Website and/or Service and Babybrains Limited, the owner(s) of this Website and Service. Your agreement to comply with and be bound by these Terms and Conditions is deemed to occur upon your first use of the Website and/or Service. If you do not agree to be bound by these Terms and Conditions, you should stop using the Website and/or Service immediately. No part of this Website and/or Service is intended to constitute a contractual offer capable of acceptance. Your order constitutes a contractual offer and our acceptance of that offer is deemed to occur upon our sending a dispatch email to you indicating that your order has been fulfilled and is on its way to you.

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System means any online communications infrastructure that Babybrains makes available through the Website and/or Service either now or in the future. This includes, but is not limited to, web-based email, message boards, live chat facilities and email links;
User / Users means any third party that accesses the Website and/or Service and is not employed by Babybrains and acting in the course of their employment; and
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7.2         You acknowledge that Babybrains reserves the right to monitor any and all communications made to us or using our System.

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8.1         In order to use this Website and/or Service, including use of the forum facilities, you are required to create an Account which will contain certain personal details and Payment Information which may vary based upon your use of the Website and/or Service as we may not require payment information until you wish to make a purchase. By continuing to use this Website and/or Service you represent and warrant that:

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10.         payment

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11.         services, pricing and availability

11.1      Whilst every effort has been made to ensure that all descriptions of Services available from Babybrains correspond to the actual Services, Babybrains is not responsible for any variations from these descriptions. This does not exclude our liability for mistakes due to negligence on our part and refers only to variations of the correct Services, not different Services altogether. Please refer to sub-Clause 12.4 for incorrect Services.

11.2      Where appropriate, you may be required to select the required Services.

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12.         provision of services

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12.4      In the event that Services are provided that are not in conformity with your order and thus incorrect, you should contact us within 10 days to inform us of the mistake. Babybrains will ensure that any necessary corrections to the Services provided are made within 7 working days.

12.5      Babybrains reserves the right to exercise discretion with respect to any alterations to Services under the provisions of this Clause 12. Factors which may be taken into account in the exercise of this discretion include, but are not limited to:

12.5.1    Any use or enjoyment that you may have already derived from the Services;

12.5.2    Any characteristics of the Services which may mean that cessation of provision is impossible without significant further work on the part and at the expense of Babybrains. Such discretion to be exercised only within the confines of the law.

13.         privacy

Use of the Website and/or Service is also governed by our Privacy Policy which is incorporated into these terms and conditions by this reference. To view the Privacy Policy, please click on the link above.

14.         disclaimers

14.1      Babybrains makes no warranty or representation that the Website and/or Service will meet your requirements, that it will be of satisfactory quality, that it will be fit for a particular purpose, that it will not infringe the rights of third parties, that it will be compatible with all systems, that it will be secure and that all information provided will be accurate. We make no guarantee of any specific results from the use of our Services.

14.2      No part of this Website and/or Service is intended to constitute advice and the Content of this Website and/or Service should not be relied upon when making any decisions or taking any action of any kind.

14.3      No part of this Website and/or Service is intended to constitute a contractual offer capable of acceptance.

15.         changes to the services and these terms and conditions

Babybrains reserves the right to change the Website and/or Service, its Content or these Terms and Conditions at any time. You will be bound by any changes to the Terms and Conditions from the first time you use the Website and/or Service following the changes. If Babybrains is required to make any changes to Terms and Conditions by law, these changes will apply automatically to any orders currently pending in addition to any orders placed by you in the future.

16.         availability of the Website and/or Service

The Service is provided “as is” and on an “as available” basis. We give no warranty that the Service will be free of defects and / or faults. To the maximum extent permitted by law we provide no warranties (express or implied) of fitness for a particular purpose, accuracy of information, compatibility and satisfactory quality. Babybrains accepts no liability for any disruption or non-availability of the Website and/or Service resulting from external causes including, but not limited to, ISP equipment failure, host equipment failure, communications network failure, power failure, natural events, acts of war or legal restrictions and censorship.

17.         limitation of liability

17.1      To the maximum extent permitted by law, Babybrains accepts no liability for any direct or indirect loss or damage, foreseeable or otherwise, including any indirect, consequential, special or exemplary damages arising from the use of the Website and/or Service or any information contained therein. Users should be aware that they use the Website and/or Service and its Content at their own risk.

17.2      Nothing in these Terms and Conditions excludes or restricts Babybrains’s liability for death or personal injury resulting from any negligence or fraud on the part of Babybrains.

17.3      Nothing in these Terms and Conditions excludes or restricts Babybrains’s liability for any direct or indirect loss or damage arising out of the incorrect provision of Services or out of reliance on incorrect information included on the Website and/or Service.

17.4      Whilst every effort has been made to ensure that these terms and conditions adhere strictly with the relevant provisions of the Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977, in the event that any of these terms are found to be unlawful, invalid or otherwise unenforceable, that term is to be deemed severed from these terms and conditions and shall not affect the validity and enforceability of the remaining terms and conditions. This term shall apply only within jurisdictions where a particular term is illegal.

18.         no waiver

In the event that any party to these Terms and Conditions fails to exercise any right or remedy contained herein, this shall not be construed as a waiver of that right or remedy.

19.         previous terms and conditions

In the event of any conflict between these Terms and Conditions and any prior versions thereof, the provisions of these Terms and Conditions shall prevail unless it is expressly stated otherwise.

20.         notices

All notices / communications shall be given to us either by post to our Premises (see address above) or by email to silvia@baby-brains.com. Such notice will be deemed received 3 days after posting if sent by first class post, the day of sending if the email is received in full on a business day and on the next business day if the email is sent on a weekend or public holiday.

21.         law and jurisdiction

These terms and conditions and the relationship between you and Babybrains shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the Law of England and Wales and Babybrains and you agree to submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the Courts of England and Wales.

DATED 21/02/2017

___________________________________________________________

PRIVACY AND SECURITY POLICY FOR BABYBRAINS

__________________________________________________________

 

 

1.    INTRODUCTION

 

  • This constitutes the Privacy and Security Policy of Babybrains Limited a company registered in England and Wales with registered company number 10092679 of registered business address Flat 34, Buckingham Mansions, 353 West End Lane, London, NW6 1LS (“Babybrains”), the owner of baby-brains.com (the “Website”) and provider of online facilities, tools, services or information that Babybrains makes available through the Website either now or in the future, including but not limited to mobile applications that utilise Website functionality.

 

  • If you continue to browse and use our Website, you are agreeing to comply with and be bound by the following Privacy and Security Policy in full, which together with our Terms of Use govern the relationship between us and you in relation to your use of our Website. If you disagree with any part of this Privacy and Security Policy, you must not use our Website.

 

  • Babybrains is subject to all applicable laws and regulations relating to the protection of personal data and privacy in the United Kingdom including (without limitation) the EU Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC, the EU Directive on privacy and Electronic Communications 2002/58/EC, the Data Protection Act 1998, the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003, the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, the Data Protection (Processing of Sensitive Personal Data) Order 2000 and all other industry guidelines (whether statutory or non-statutory) or Codes of Practice issued by the Information Commissioner relating to the processing of personal data or privacy or any amendments and re-enactments thereof.

 

  • We are committed to safeguarding the privacy of our Website users; this policy sets out how we will treat your personal information.

 

  • Our Website uses cookies. We will ask you to consent to our use of cookies in accordance with the terms of this policy when you first use our Website.

 

2.    WHAT INFORMATION IS COLLECTED

 

  • If you are merely visiting the public areas of our Website we do not collect any personal data about you; however, we may automatically collect information about your visits, such as user traffic patterns and site use. Information collected in this way does not reveal your contact details or any type of personal data. This information is only used in aggregate form to analyse, manage, develop and improve our Website and is not linked to any individual.

 

  • We collect personally identifiable information only when voluntarily submitted by you. If you choose to partake in certain activities including but not limited to, filling out a survey or applying for an offer, you will be asked to supply some information about yourself, including but not limited to your name, address, phone number and email address.

 

  • We collect the details provided by you on registration together with information we learn about you from your use of our Website. We also collect information about the transactions you undertake including details of payment cards used.

 

  • We may also collect additional information in connection with information you provide when giving us feedback or completing profile forms.

 

3.    HOW INFORMATION IS COLLECTED

 

  • We collect data from information supplied by you. When you give us your email address, you are asked to let us know how it can be used. You may ‘opt in’ to receive regular email newsletters that contain information we believe to be of value to you, specifically regular content updates, events, special discounts and offers selected by our marketing department.

 

  • All marketing emails will contain a link to opt out of further communications from us. If you make a purchase via our Website the assumption may be made that you will be interested in similar products and you may receive emails with information about these products. All marketing emails will contain a link to ‘opt out’ of further communications from us.

 

  • We may also use cookie and tracking technology depending on the features offered. Cookie and tracking technology are useful for gathering information such as browser type and operating system, tracking the number of and activities of users of our Website. Cookies can also help customise our Website for users. We use cookies to track user usage on our Website. From time to time, we may use ad servers (such as DoubleClick) to serve advertisements on our Website. Ad servers use cookies to help target relevant ads to users.

 

  • Personal information cannot be collected via cookies and other tracking technology; however, if you previously provided personally identifiable information, cookies may be tied to such information. “Cookies” are small pieces of information sent by a web server to a web browser, which enables the server to collect information from the browser.

 

  • We may also use cookies for a number of other purposes, for instance to enable us to simplify the logging on process for users who have created an account (“Registered Users“), to help ensure the security and authenticity of Registered Users, to provide the mechanisms for improving and monitoring experiences and to enable traffic monitoring.

 

  • Non-registered users of the site are sent anonymous cookies to keep track of their browsing patterns and build up a demographic profile. In addition, any user who has clicked on any advertisement on another site that links to the Website will be sent anonymous cookies that will allow us to analyse advertising effectiveness and manage our relationship with affiliate sites.

 

  • Whilst you do not need to allow your browser to accept cookies in order to browse the majority of our Website, you must have cookies enabled if you wish to shop online or access any areas reserved for Registered Users. Most browsers allow you to turn off the cookie function. If you want to know how to do this, please look at the help menu on your browser.

 

  • Cookies on our Website cannot be used by themselves to identify you and you can accept or decline cookies by modifying the settings in your browser.

 

4.    USE OF INFORMATION

 

  • Personal information submitted to us via our Website will be used for the purposes specified in this Privacy and Security Policy or in relevant parts of our Website.

 

  • We may use your personal information to:

 

  • administer our Website;
  • enable your use of our Website;
  • send statements and invoices to you, and collect payments from you;
  • send you general (non-marketing) commercial communications;
  • send you email notifications which you have specifically requested;
  • send to you our newsletter and other marketing communications relating to our business or the businesses of carefully-selected third parties which we think may be of interest to you by email or similar technology (you can inform us at any time if you no longer require marketing communications);
  • deal with enquiries and complaints made by or about you relating to our Website; or
  • keep our Website secure and prevent fraud.

 

  • Where you submit personal information for publication on our Website, we will publish and otherwise use that information in accordance with the licence you grant to us.

 

  • We may use your information to send you offers and news about our products and services. Your information may be passed to and used by all Babybrains licensees and affiliates.

 

  • From time to time we will be entering into commercial agreements with third party suppliers to provide additional features, goods or services via our Website. Those third-party suppliers may provide all or part of our service to you. Unless you expressly opt out, any personal data that you provide when signing up on a co-branded page will be shared with the third-party supplier in question.

 

  • We may also use and disclose information in aggregate (so that no individual users are identified) for marketing and strategic business purposes and aggregate cookie and tracking information may be shared with third parties.

 

  • We will not without your express consent provide your personal information to any third parties for the purpose of direct marketing.

 

5.    DISCLOSURE OF INFORMATION

 

  • We may disclose information about you to any of our employees, officers, agents, suppliers or subcontractors insofar as reasonably necessary for the purposes as set out in this Privacy and Security Policy.

 

  • In addition, we may disclose your personal information:

 

  • to the extent that we are required to do so by law;
  • in connection with any legal proceedings or prospective legal proceedings;
  • to establish, exercise or defend our legal rights (including providing information to others for the purposes of fraud prevention and reducing credit risk);
  • to the purchaser (or prospective purchaser) of any business or asset that we are (or are contemplating) selling; and
  • to any person who we reasonably believe may apply to a court or other competent authority for disclosure of that personal information where, in our reasonable opinion, such court or authority would be reasonably likely to order disclosure of that personal information.

 

  • Except as provided in this Privacy and Security Policy, we will not provide your information to third parties.

 

6.    INTERNATIONAL DATA TRANSFERS

 

  • Information that we collect may be stored and processed in and transferred between any of the countries in which we operate to enable us to use the information in accordance with this Privacy and Security Policy.

 

  • Information which you provide may be transferred to countries (including but not limited to the United States, Japan, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and China) which do not have data protection laws equivalent to those in force in the European Economic Area.

 

  • In addition, personal information that you submit for publication on our Website will be published on the internet and may be available, via the internet or across mobile applications, around the world. We cannot prevent the use or misuse of such information by others.

 

  • You expressly agree to such transfers of personal information.

 

7.    SECURITY OF INFORMATION

 

  • We will take reasonable technical and organisational precautions to prevent the loss, misuse or alteration of your personal information.

 

  • Of course, data transmission over the Internet is inherently insecure, and we cannot guarantee the security of data sent over the Internet.

 

  • You are responsible for keeping your password and user details confidential. We will not ask you for your password (except when you log in to our Website).

 

8.    AMENDMENTS

 

  • We may update this Privacy and Security Policy from time-to-time by posting a new version on our Website. You should check this page occasionally to ensure you are happy with any changes.

 

  • We may also notify you of changes to this Privacy and Security Policy by email.

 

9.    YOUR RIGHTS

 

You may instruct us not to process your personal information for marketing purposes, by sending an email to us. In practice, you will usually either expressly agree in advance to our use of your personal information for marketing purposes, or we will provide you with an opportunity to opt-out of the use of your personal information for marketing purposes.

 

10. THIRD PARTIES

 

The Website contains links to other websites. We are not responsible for the privacy policies or practices of third party websites.

 

11. UPDATING OF INFORMATION

 

Please let us know if the personal information which we hold about you needs to be corrected or updated.

 

12. CONTACT

 

If you have any questions about this Privacy Policy or our treatment of your personal information, please write to us by email to silvia@baby-brains.com.

 

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