THE ADOLESCENT BRAIN
Recent research indicates that adolescent brain development is probably not complete until the mid-twenties. Furthermore, teenagers’ experiences and the environments in which they occur influence the ways their neuropathways are formed. This research, in combination with advances in Positive Youth Development have provided windows of understanding into how we can provide a therapeutic environment that is most conducive to healthy growth and development. Adolescence is a period of rapid brain development, similar to that seen in infants and toddlers. Just as parents create learning environments for very young children, it is also possible to create the most optimal growth environment for the developing teenage brain. PYD, at its core, encourages and stimulates students to be involved, to take healthy risks, and to meet their biological needs in more pro-social ways. It meets teens where they are, and shows them the inherent strengths they have while addressing the challenges that this period of adolescence poses. By shaping a student’s environment and experiences using the latest research information available, we believe that we are contributing to brain and cognitive development that will help students use rational decision making strategies, learn to respond rather than react, and support them in internalizing a personal value system to guide their actions.