Explore New Territories: Reflections from the ZERO to THREE Conference, Denver

By Alison Sutton, Talking Matters director

I joined 3,400 practitioners, researchers and policy makers from 13 countries at the Zero to Three Conference in Denver in early October to get some international perspectives.   Zero to Three is a policy and advocacy organisation that promotes policies and services for infants and toddlers.   

Summary and insights

Talking Matters director Alison Sutton joined 3,400 practitioners, researchers and policy makers at the Zero To Three Conference in Denver in October 2018.  
"It was incredibly stimulating because it had a strong strand of advocacy and outstanding presentations and speakers," Alison says.
"Talking Matters will be drawing on the insights for months to come." 
Some Zero to Three highlights:  
•    Understanding the powerful connection between attachment, back and forth interaction and infant mental health. 
•    Trauma and adverse experiences in childhood literally shape babies' brains. They affect brain size as well as neural pathways.
•    Early years are not just about child development.  Early years are about economic policy, employment policy, social policy. Every employer depends on someone who depends on child care. 
•    We need to be actively talking about socio-emotional development. If we want children to have skills in managing their behaviour, they need the vocabulary and concepts to do that. It has to be intentional. 
Alison's full report can be downloaded from our 

In the full report I share insights from innovative initiatives and the latest research on topics that are on top for talk in Aotearoa, including: 

Critical success factors for effective parent engagement with a focus on:

- Millennial parents

- Connecting with dads

- Supporting teen parents to talk more and talk differently

- Strategies for working with prisoners who are also parents

Challenges and protective factors:

- Toxic stress and early adversity

- What stops intergenerational violence? 

Policy and advocacy

- Policy and oral language

- Advocacy to do list



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