Infants born during the COVID-19 (CCP virus) economic shutdown had severely impaired IQ, verbal, motor, and cognitive performance, researchers found.
A new Brown University study revealed a lack of stimulation and interaction can cause young children to experience a major decline in cognitive function. This raises serious concerns for early learning development.
“These policies, meant to limit spread of the SARSCoV-2 virus, have closed daycares, schools, parks, and playgrounds, and have disrupted children’s educational opportunities, limited explorative play and interaction with other children, and reduced physical activity levels,” the research findings said.
The study examined 672 children who were born before and after the pandemic started in March 2020. Almost 28% were born after July 2020, 45% before January 2019, and 26% between January 2019 and March 2020. None of them had existing developmental disabilities.
Lead author Sean Deoni said pandemic-era children appear to have scored shockingly low on tests designed to assess cognitive development, according to The Guardian.
He blamed limited stimulation at home, “stressed and frazzled” parents, less contact with the outside world, and substantially diminished interactions that a child would normally have.
In the decade before the pandemic average IQ hovered around 100 based on standardized tests for children, aged between three months and 3 years. However, those born during the pandemic had an average IQ of just 22 points according to the publication.
A lack of stimulation in the first years of life, when the foundations of cognition are laid, can have serious consequences in adolescence and adulthood.
“The ability to course-correct becomes smaller, the older that child gets,” Deoni said according to the Guardian. “It is not subtle by any stretch. You do not typically see things like that, outside of major cognitive disorders.”
Although those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds performed worse in the United States, raising speculation the poorest parts of the nation and world could produce even worse IQ results.
University College London child health professor Terence Stephenson believes there is not as much information available on the impact of lockdowns on infants compared to school-age children.
“Perhaps not surprising that children from lower socioeconomic families have been most affected, as this resonates with many of the other financial, employment and health impacts of the pandemic,” he said according to the publication.