There is a common metaphor in the scientific community that uses flowers to describe children’s sensitivity to their environments.
A child like a dandelion will turn out fine despite the circumstances she is raised in, while a child like an orchid will flounder without a nourishing environment, but blossom with care and support.
Researchers at Duke University have been picking apart this metaphor and studying the role that long-term interventions play in how children develop throughout their lifetime. Ken Dodge is the William McDougall professor of public policy at Duke, and he designed an intervention called Fast Track that has been working with the same group of children for more than 20 years.
Host Frank Stasio talks to Dodge about the intervention and new findings that children’s vulnerability may be reflected in their genes.