Education K-12 M.A.

Year Approved


First Advisor

Elliott, Nathan


This literature review seeks to answer the question of: “What effect does early deprivation have on the cognitive and social/emotional development of a child?” Education is constantly changing, and one part that has dramatically shaped and shifted since its inception in 1975 is the area of special education. Within special education is a vast spectrum of student needs and differences. In order to be effective, teachers need to know their students’ strengths, areas of need, and anything else that plays a role in how they learn. This paper seeks to bring more clarity to how trauma, specifically the trauma of early deprivation, changes the brain structure, neural pathways, and behavior of a child and how that can present itself in the classroom. Topics such as IQ, brain structure, neural development, attention, attachment, and executive function are all addressed as their connection to early deprivation and development is revealed. By examining the studies of researchers, scientists, and psychologists, a clear connection has been made between early deprivation and cognitive and social/emotional development. It is clear from these studies that deprivation plays a large and negative role in the growth of a child in these areas.

Degree Name

Education K-12 M.A.

Document Type

Masterʼs thesis

Included in

Education Commons