Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

November 13, 2007


Host: Larry Lemmons

Fire Prevention


  • Fire officials say it’s time to implement the “firewise” practices of creating defensible spaces around homes and buildings. Helen Graham, assistant state fire management officer for the Bureau of Land Management in Arizona, discusses how people can protect themselves from potential wildfires, even in urban areas.
Guests:
  • Helen Graham - Assistant State Fire Management Officer, Bureau of Land Management, Arizona
  • Dr. Jill Stamm - Co-founder, New Directions Institute for Brain Development, ASU professor., author of "Bright from the Start.”


View Transcript
Larry Lemmons:
Tonight on "Horizon," fire officials say now is the time to implement "fire wise" practices. Plus, parents learn the value of security and attention for the development of their infant's brains. Those stories and more next on "Horizon."

Announcer:
"Horizon" is made possible by contributions from the Friends of Eight, members of your Arizona PBS Station. Thank you.

Larry Lemmons:
Hello and welcome to "Horizon." I'm Larry Lemmons. Firefighters continue to mop up from the August fire ten miles north of Prescott. That fire started on October 30th and was declared 100\% contained on Sunday. It burned 650 acres and did not threaten any structures. Still fire officials say conditions are dry in urban-wildland areas and now is the time it create defensible space around homes and buildings. More on that in a moment. First, Merry Lucero takes us to one area just north of the valley that is keeping an eye out for fire hazards.

Merry Lucero:
Black Canyon City is about 30 miles north of Phoenix on Interstate 17. The terrain, hilly, desert, the population between 4 and 5,000. The town is in the Yavapai County, surrounded by Bureau of Land Management, forest service, and state land. Usually the area gets a bit more rain than the valley but Fire Chief Tom Birch says this season that hasn't been the case.

Tom Birch:
This year, in particular, we have seen a lot of high temperatures that we normally haven't seen before, and that has dried out a lot of the fuels, and also this summer, we didn't get a lot of the monsoon rains, particularly here in Black Canyon City.

Merry Lucero:
Recent fires in and around Prescott have the area on alert. The Black Canyon City Fire Department is working with the Bureau of Land Management on fire prevention.

Tom Birch:
We have in the past, and continue to on a yearly basis work with the Bureau of Land Management and state land to educate our people about the defensible space, and what they need to do to make sure that they can survive a fire by creating that defensible space.

Merry Lucero:
This homeowner has done that. Cleared about 30 feet of brush and fuel from around their home.

Tom Birch:
He cleared a very, very nice defensible space, so if a fire were to occur in this area, that this structure would survive and not be burned.

Merry Lucero:
This area had been overgrown and a fire danger for several reasons.

Bruce Olson:
Heavy recreation use in this area. A lot of people go back and use this on their ATCs. A number of illegal camp fire rings started. The river is behind us. They go down there and have a good time, and a lot of times leave their camp fires burning. We have children that play in the area, and children always seem to want to play with fire. A number of small starts here that were extinguished.

Merry Lucero:
As a preemptive move, the BLM cleared this area.

Bruce Olson:
About 100 homes of this property, and we decided we needed to come in and reduce the fuel loading. We thinned up the trees, cut a number of them out, and we brought the branches up to about eight foot tall so that we removed the fuel ladder from the fire starting, getting up into the trees. Once a fire gets up into the trees, it is a lot harder to put out.

Merry Lucero:
Creating defensible space reduces fuel for the fire to burn and makes an area for the firefighter to get in and defend the homes if there is a fire. Fire officials say, now, while the weather is cooling is the time to get out and clear the fuels from around buildings.

Larry Lemmons:
Here to talk more about fire danger and prevention in urban wild land areas is Helen Graham, Assistant State Fire Management Officer for the B.L.M. in Arizona.

Larry Lemmons:
Welcome, Helen.

Helen Graham:
Thank you.

Larry Lemmons:
Looking at the Prescott national forest web site, something I couldn't believe, I think over the weekend, there were like ten abandoned camp fires that you guys had to clean up?

Helen Graham:
Yeah, this is recreating season. The temperature is getting cooler, folks getting out into the wild lands, hunting season, they start camp fires, and they don't appropriately put them out. It takes quite a bit of time, water, attention to put a camp fire, as Smoky Bear would say, dead out, and we just find that folks aren't getting that done.

Larry Lemmons:
We were talking about smoky bear, we have that, and quite frankly it runs against common sense. Everyone knows all of this is very dangerous. What do people need to know when they have a camp fire and when they're leaving the area, what do they have to do specifically?

Helen Graham:
You can't put a normal camp fire out without at least five gallons of water. You need a shovel. You need to put the flames out, stir the camp fire, and you should be able to run your hands through the coals to feel that it is cool to the touch, and then your camp fire is dead out.

Larry Lemmons:
Because I can imagine, too, if the wind kicks up, and there is a lot of wind up there in Black Canyon City, and it can throw those embers on to even drier areas. You have to make sure it is completely out. You've been doing some work on other areas haven't you?

Helen Graham:
Yes, within BLM, our rural communities, we have been doing a lot of work. Homeowner education, community education, community projects through grants or direct services to assist them with creating defensible space. Clearing vacant lots, and improving the defensibility of the community itself, not just individual homes.

Larry Lemmons:
I know a lot of people move out to these rural isolated areas sometimes because they want to get away from a lot of the urban problem, and the thing is, you know, what can the B.L.M. do, if, for example, they come on to some sort of property and they have not cleared out a defensible space? Is there anything other than just contacting the property owner to try to clean it up?

Helen Graham:
We start up with public meetings and informing the public of their personal responsibility of clearing the homes and the danger they're exposed to. We have different events, we call them chipper days, land clearing days, defensible space demonstrations where we get a homeowner to volunteer and we demonstrate how they create the defensible space and we bring in our resources to assist homeowners. There is a cost. We have community assistance grants and we have the ability to assist them with that. We haul away the brush to chip it. The County Board of Supervisors have made space available for people to haul their brush to, the bureau comes in to assist them. But creating avenues to more easily get rid of the brush once they do the clearing. There is education, understanding of how to clear the homes and make it defensible.

Larry Lemmons:
We were mentioning earlier about grass. A lot of people don't realize that grass is dangerous. Can you talk about what people can do about that?

Helen Graham:
This is the time of year to take a look at the trees and brush and cut those things back. When the winter rains come, February or so, we are going to start to get the green up. The grass comes in. You have to mow back, from the sheds, garages, porches, eliminate the grass. Grass is the primary spread component for fire in the desert ecosystem. If you get the grass knocked back, you have created a lot of defensible space.

Larry Lemmons:
Have you ever been getting resistance sometimes from property owners to do that?

Helen Graham:
The resistance is usually because of the cost. And that's why we're trying to create avenues to assist them with that, whether it is working through the county to create places to relocate brush until we can chip it and remove it, or whether it is enlisting the Boy Scouts, youth programs to help us with elderly homeowners maybe, pulling the brush after it is cut from their yards. There is a lot of avenues there. It takes some public awareness, public education, and the federal agencies, state partners and really what's not to be understated is those local fire departments, because they are in the community enlisting the assistance of those local partners in helping us when we have these organized days and keeping awareness out there.

Larry Lemmons:
You mentioned something very good at that point. Say someone is elderly and can't get out there and move around a lot of that. If someone wants to help someone like that and they don't have all of the things that you guys have, who do they need to contact in order to get all of this help?

Helen Graham:
Start with the local fire departments. They're in the community, understand the local issues and probably know that neighbor. Start with those folks, and they will more than likely if it is a community we have a close relationship with, they will tap into us as a resource. If not, use those local organizations, Boy Scouts. We have folks who have gotten their merit badges by helping us pull debris from people's yards.

Larry Lemmons:
One more thing before we go. We have seen it often and another thing that can easily be prevented. People flicking cigarettes outside the window when they're driving. How dangerous is that?

Helen Graham:
Irresponsible acts, abandoned camp fire, throwing a cigarette out, even a vehicle that overheats on the highway, they are all contributors to wild fires.

Larry Lemmons:
Helen Graham, thanks so much for visiting and talking with us today and fighting the traffic.

Helen Graham:
No problem, thank you.

Larry Lemmons:
New parents, or prospective ones, are inundated with advice about how to raise their small children. Here's some more. Parents need to pay attention to their infants. Seems like common sense, doesn't it? But you might be surprised how many children don't get enough. The brain is the least developed organ at birth when we have about 100 billion nerve cells, most of them unconnected. I went to St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center recently to observe a program that educates parents on their child's needs.

Rachel Lamb:
A baby will pay attention to this, because they can actually see it better.

Larry Lemmons:
Landon is 7 weeks old. He is attracted to a rattle his father is moving across his line of sight. Audrey is six weeks old. She is gazing at herself in the mirror.

Rachel Lamb:
They love faces, they love looking at your face and their own faces. You will learn about eyes in the workshop, children zone in on faces.

Larry Lemmons:
Rachel Lamb, the new program coordinator, is demonstrating a brain box for Audrey and Landon's parents. It consists of every day items that encourage healthy brain development for children under a year old. It is a way to encourage parents to interact with their infants. It might seem commonsensical for parents to play with and hold their children, yet it doesn't always happen. Audrey and Landon are very lucky they have involved and loving parents.

Rachel Lamb:
When you are sharing a book with a baby like that, you are bonding with him. He's feeling secure. And that -- that is firing up right now.

Larry Lemmons:
These children seen in an investigative report grew up in Romanian orphanages. When the dictator was overthrown in 1989, there were 150,000 children in deprived conditions. Many would be unattended for nearly a day. They were emotionally and developmentally disabled. Observers would soon realize how debilitating such neglect would be to children.

Lilia Parra-Roide:
I do see children that have been neglected and they don't develop in the same way. We've known for a long time that children that don't receive as much attention, that don't have good bonding with their parents for different reasons, sometimes a mother didn't want to be pregnant and doesn't devote as much attention to the infant, those children don't develop as well. When you take those children and put them in an environment where they get that kind of attention, they do begin to develop and blossom.

Eloisa Matsch:
What has amazed scientists the most is how fast and how rapid a child's brain develops that first year of life. Okay. It is not like a child's heart, which is a fully developed organ. It is a mini replica of an adult's heart. The brain is not finished yet. To put it in perspective at how fast it is growing that first year, if your baby's body grew as fast as its brain, your baby would weigh 170 pounds by the time it was one.

Larry Lemmons:
Parents and caregivers attending a free workshop "Wired for Success" at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center. It is also being presented by the New Directions Institute, a nonprofit organization. It was researched into the experience of the Romanian orphanages that led to the creation of the institute by A.S.U. Professor Dr. Stamm. The author of "Bright from the Start." new directions focuses on the needs of the child.

Eloisa Matsch:
We have the steps. These are the steps that were developed, security, touch, eyes and play and sound. And these are the simple steps that parents can do and they can use at home to help their child develop a healthy brain. So, the main one, out of all of those, is security. Children need to feel secure. They need to know that they are loved. They need to know that someone is going to be there to meet their needs, and when they feel secure, then they can go on to learn other things. The children like the children in Romania who didn't have that love, who didn't have that security, they had to like nurture themselves and comfort themselves, and, you know, that had a big affect on how their brain developed.

Lilia Parra-Roide:
I was very excited when I saw the material that Dr. Stamm has put together in the program. It's nothing new. I know. I've always told parents, you know, every time a little baby smiles at you, sometimes people say, oh, it is just gas. But, you smile back and it forms a certain synapse in the brain and the wiring starts developing. That smile starts meaning something. Every little thing like that. I have always known intuitively, maybe, also from a lot of my studies and reading that all of those interactions are important.

Larry Lemmons:
Audrey and Landon are constantly growing, constantly learning. Because of the attention given to them by their parents, they should grow into healthy, happy and inquisitive children. It might seem a simple idea, but it could very well be the most important thing in a child's life.

Lilia Parra-Roide:
I was talking to my husband about it, and now, we read to our kids, you talk, narrate the daily events, grocery store, your infant child, but you talk about what you are doing, and those kind of interactions as unimportant as it may seem at the time, and parents know how important that it may seem at the time because they can see when things are working, they can see the child responding. You know when it is going over their head because you lose their attention, but what you're looking for is, you know, making that eye-to-eye contact with the infant or child, whatever age, and you know when you're doing something right, so you try different things with them. And it is all basic stuff, attention.

Larry Lemmons:
Ted Simons spoke recently with the cofounder of the New Directions Institute for Brain Development, Dr. Jill Stamm. Dr. Stamm is a professor at A.S.U., and, as we mentioned, the author of "Bright from the Start." we'll see that, but first, here's a comment from Bill Post, the chairman and CEO of Pinnacle West. Its company, A.P.S., is sponsoring the program "Wired for Success."

Bill Post:
Infant brain development is something that we all should be concerned about. Just think about this. Just think about the change in technology that is occurring today. You know, some of the latest research shows that the internet is growing at the rate of 10 million new pages a day. Now, think back 10, 20, 30 years ago and think about how we developed in terms of our own careers as individuals. Think about the demands that were placed upon us 20, 30 years ago. Just think about a -- go back and look at a television program from 30 years ago, and just see how sophisticated it is. What I predict is you will get tired of watching it in a short period of time. It is very slow, methodical, not demanding like the world we live in today. When we watch the news, we don't get one story at a time, we often get one, two, sometimes three stories simultaneously and we have to grasp that. If you think about the barriers we have had as a culture in the last 20, 30 years, cultural barriers, social barriers, and I would suggest to you as you think about the next 20 to 30 years, potentially one of the largest barriers we have is our intellectual capacity to keep up with growing technology, which is why it is so important for all of us to think about infant brain development and the brain development opportunities that exist by programs like New Directions, where they give parents the opportunity through stimulation, whether that be music, colors, shape, to actually physically change the mental capacity of their children. You know, when you think about the role businesses can play in that, in my own company, Arizona Public Service Company, we have been involved with Jill for several years. Why? One reason, what's more important than your employee's children, and when you focus on the opportunity that is there, you focus not only on the opportunity for employees, but for their children in a world that 20, 30 years from now is going to demand a work force that has the capability of dealing with advancing technology at a pace that is even faster than today. So, yes, there is a business connection to the need to advance intellectual capacity. But there is also the human side of this, families to do something that is the most important thing in their lives, and that's their children.

Ted Simons:
And Jill, thank you so much for joining us on "Horizon."

Dr. Jill Stamm:
Thank you so much.

Ted Simons:
Let's talk about the importance of toys, of activity with stuff for the little mind that is growing.

Dr. Jill Stamm:
Well, stuff is important. Kids love to have items to play with. But one of the things that I get so excited about is I read the research about early brain development. It is not really about the stuff. It's about the relationship. It's about moms and dads connecting with their children one-on-one. Lots of eye contact. Before we went on camera, you and I were joking about eye contact. It's something that all parents can do. All caregivers can do if they understand the importance of simple things like eye contact and face time and responding quickly to the needs of a child. Those kinds of things have a much more elevated level of importance in what we now know are some of the factors that go to impact how a child's brain develops to its maximum potential.

Ted Simons:
Yet there are so many things on the market right now, from Baby Einstein to other stuff, you hear play classical music when a child takes a nap and those sorts of things. Does that stuff work?

Dr. Jill Stamm:
Thank goodness we're doing research to show that it in fact probably isn't doing what parents had been led to believe. It is a perfect example of taking a little bit of information and the good old American entrepreneur making a lot of something out of information that although it may have some basis certainly does not produce brilliant children. There is no one thing that you could say to a parent. There is no magic pill that you could say, all right, if you just do this, your child is going to be fine. They're going to be smart. They're going to go to Harvard, or to A.S.U. so, we need to get real. We need to understand that what children need are -- they need people. They don't need televisions. The impact of watching television on the developing brain is way different than you and I watching television as an adult.

Ted Simons:
Is it to the point where you say no television for the little person?

Dr. Jill Stamm:
Well, the American Academy of Pediatrics is quite clear. They say no television for a child under the age of two.

Ted Simons:
is there a threat that when they discover television, they're glued forever…look at this thing that I never had?

Dr. Jill Stamm:
They're always attracted to novelty. As we know those systems for future cognition coming on line in the tiny little brain, when it is growing itself, earlier in the segment, one of our instructors at New Directions was saying the brain doesn't come fully developed like another part of your body. It literally grows itself through repetitive use and experiences that the child is having. And so, something like television has a detrimental effect before age two, where maybe at age five, it actually can be used as an educational tool. And I think it is very confusing to parents that they don't understand that difference, but the research is finally coming out. This summer in the Journal of Pediatrics, a study that shows that the Baby Einsteins of the world, all of the DVD's that many parents have been led to believe they can put their six month old in front of, actually delayed the initial onset of language. Not that it is going to stay that way forever. One really important thing is that parents need to understand that it is never too late. The brain remains very pliable and plastic throughout the lifetime, and so, thank goodness, because you and I can continue to learn new things as we age. That capacity of a brain to respond to its environment stays.

Ted Simons:
In other words, people listening right now, oh, I could have paid more attention to my kid. It's over now. It's not over now. Start paying attention.

Dr. Jill Stamm:
It's not over. You can start paying attention at any given time at a trajectory along the way. What we know is that brains respond when people pay lots of attention to the individual. And that's true really probably throughout our lifetime. And so the earlier that you get started doing what I call in the book "bright from the start" the ABC's of Early Learning: attention, bonding, communication. The earlier that you start working to assure that you are doing something purposefully every day to bond with your child, let them know that you love them, to help them with attention, and then to talk with them a lot.

Ted Simons:
Very good. Thank you so much for joining us.

Dr. Jill Stamm:
Thank you.

Larry Lemmons:
For more information on this and other stories, please visit our web site at web az.PBS.org.

David Majure:
The state board of education is considering a plan to increase math and science requirements for high school graduation and adopt a new alternative diploma. How climate change may affect your health and an effort to set aside Thanksgiving day to honor Native Americans. Those stories, Wednesday on Horizon.

Larry Lemmons:
I'm Larry Lemmons, thanks for watching.

Announcer:
If you have comments about "Horizon," please contact us at the addresses listed on your screen. Your name and comments may be used on a future edition of "Horizon." "Horizon" is made possible by contributions from the friends of eight, members of your Arizona PBS station. Thank you.

Infant Brain Development


  • The New Directions Institute for Infant Brain Development is a nonprofit organization that teaches parents how best to stimulate learning in their children. This organization’s program at St. Joseph’s Hospital shows parents the value of security and attention. ASU professor Dr. Jill Stamm, author of Bright from the Start, co-founded the program. New Directions Institute Web site.
Guests:
  • Helen Graham - Assistant State Fire Management Officer, Bureau of Land Management, Arizona
  • Dr. Jill Stamm - Co-founder, New Directions Institute for Brain Development, ASU professor., author of "Bright from the Start.”
Category: Medical/Health

View Transcript
Larry Lemmons:
Tonight on "Horizon," fire officials say now is the time to implement "fire wise" practices. Plus, parents learn the value of security and attention for the development of their infant's brains. Those stories and more next on "Horizon."

Announcer:
"Horizon" is made possible by contributions from the Friends of Eight, members of your Arizona PBS Station. Thank you.

Larry Lemmons:
Hello and welcome to "Horizon." I'm Larry Lemmons. Firefighters continue to mop up from the August fire ten miles north of Prescott. That fire started on October 30th and was declared 100\% contained on Sunday. It burned 650 acres and did not threaten any structures. Still fire officials say conditions are dry in urban-wildland areas and now is the time it create defensible space around homes and buildings. More on that in a moment. First, Merry Lucero takes us to one area just north of the valley that is keeping an eye out for fire hazards.

Merry Lucero:
Black Canyon City is about 30 miles north of Phoenix on Interstate 17. The terrain, hilly, desert, the population between 4 and 5,000. The town is in the Yavapai County, surrounded by Bureau of Land Management, forest service, and state land. Usually the area gets a bit more rain than the valley but Fire Chief Tom Birch says this season that hasn't been the case.

Tom Birch:
This year, in particular, we have seen a lot of high temperatures that we normally haven't seen before, and that has dried out a lot of the fuels, and also this summer, we didn't get a lot of the monsoon rains, particularly here in Black Canyon City.

Merry Lucero:
Recent fires in and around Prescott have the area on alert. The Black Canyon City Fire Department is working with the Bureau of Land Management on fire prevention.

Tom Birch:
We have in the past, and continue to on a yearly basis work with the Bureau of Land Management and state land to educate our people about the defensible space, and what they need to do to make sure that they can survive a fire by creating that defensible space.

Merry Lucero:
This homeowner has done that. Cleared about 30 feet of brush and fuel from around their home.

Tom Birch:
He cleared a very, very nice defensible space, so if a fire were to occur in this area, that this structure would survive and not be burned.

Merry Lucero:
This area had been overgrown and a fire danger for several reasons.

Bruce Olson:
Heavy recreation use in this area. A lot of people go back and use this on their ATCs. A number of illegal camp fire rings started. The river is behind us. They go down there and have a good time, and a lot of times leave their camp fires burning. We have children that play in the area, and children always seem to want to play with fire. A number of small starts here that were extinguished.

Merry Lucero:
As a preemptive move, the BLM cleared this area.

Bruce Olson:
About 100 homes of this property, and we decided we needed to come in and reduce the fuel loading. We thinned up the trees, cut a number of them out, and we brought the branches up to about eight foot tall so that we removed the fuel ladder from the fire starting, getting up into the trees. Once a fire gets up into the trees, it is a lot harder to put out.

Merry Lucero:
Creating defensible space reduces fuel for the fire to burn and makes an area for the firefighter to get in and defend the homes if there is a fire. Fire officials say, now, while the weather is cooling is the time to get out and clear the fuels from around buildings.

Larry Lemmons:
Here to talk more about fire danger and prevention in urban wild land areas is Helen Graham, Assistant State Fire Management Officer for the B.L.M. in Arizona.

Larry Lemmons:
Welcome, Helen.

Helen Graham:
Thank you.

Larry Lemmons:
Looking at the Prescott national forest web site, something I couldn't believe, I think over the weekend, there were like ten abandoned camp fires that you guys had to clean up?

Helen Graham:
Yeah, this is recreating season. The temperature is getting cooler, folks getting out into the wild lands, hunting season, they start camp fires, and they don't appropriately put them out. It takes quite a bit of time, water, attention to put a camp fire, as Smoky Bear would say, dead out, and we just find that folks aren't getting that done.

Larry Lemmons:
We were talking about smoky bear, we have that, and quite frankly it runs against common sense. Everyone knows all of this is very dangerous. What do people need to know when they have a camp fire and when they're leaving the area, what do they have to do specifically?

Helen Graham:
You can't put a normal camp fire out without at least five gallons of water. You need a shovel. You need to put the flames out, stir the camp fire, and you should be able to run your hands through the coals to feel that it is cool to the touch, and then your camp fire is dead out.

Larry Lemmons:
Because I can imagine, too, if the wind kicks up, and there is a lot of wind up there in Black Canyon City, and it can throw those embers on to even drier areas. You have to make sure it is completely out. You've been doing some work on other areas haven't you?

Helen Graham:
Yes, within BLM, our rural communities, we have been doing a lot of work. Homeowner education, community education, community projects through grants or direct services to assist them with creating defensible space. Clearing vacant lots, and improving the defensibility of the community itself, not just individual homes.

Larry Lemmons:
I know a lot of people move out to these rural isolated areas sometimes because they want to get away from a lot of the urban problem, and the thing is, you know, what can the B.L.M. do, if, for example, they come on to some sort of property and they have not cleared out a defensible space? Is there anything other than just contacting the property owner to try to clean it up?

Helen Graham:
We start up with public meetings and informing the public of their personal responsibility of clearing the homes and the danger they're exposed to. We have different events, we call them chipper days, land clearing days, defensible space demonstrations where we get a homeowner to volunteer and we demonstrate how they create the defensible space and we bring in our resources to assist homeowners. There is a cost. We have community assistance grants and we have the ability to assist them with that. We haul away the brush to chip it. The County Board of Supervisors have made space available for people to haul their brush to, the bureau comes in to assist them. But creating avenues to more easily get rid of the brush once they do the clearing. There is education, understanding of how to clear the homes and make it defensible.

Larry Lemmons:
We were mentioning earlier about grass. A lot of people don't realize that grass is dangerous. Can you talk about what people can do about that?

Helen Graham:
This is the time of year to take a look at the trees and brush and cut those things back. When the winter rains come, February or so, we are going to start to get the green up. The grass comes in. You have to mow back, from the sheds, garages, porches, eliminate the grass. Grass is the primary spread component for fire in the desert ecosystem. If you get the grass knocked back, you have created a lot of defensible space.

Larry Lemmons:
Have you ever been getting resistance sometimes from property owners to do that?

Helen Graham:
The resistance is usually because of the cost. And that's why we're trying to create avenues to assist them with that, whether it is working through the county to create places to relocate brush until we can chip it and remove it, or whether it is enlisting the Boy Scouts, youth programs to help us with elderly homeowners maybe, pulling the brush after it is cut from their yards. There is a lot of avenues there. It takes some public awareness, public education, and the federal agencies, state partners and really what's not to be understated is those local fire departments, because they are in the community enlisting the assistance of those local partners in helping us when we have these organized days and keeping awareness out there.

Larry Lemmons:
You mentioned something very good at that point. Say someone is elderly and can't get out there and move around a lot of that. If someone wants to help someone like that and they don't have all of the things that you guys have, who do they need to contact in order to get all of this help?

Helen Graham:
Start with the local fire departments. They're in the community, understand the local issues and probably know that neighbor. Start with those folks, and they will more than likely if it is a community we have a close relationship with, they will tap into us as a resource. If not, use those local organizations, Boy Scouts. We have folks who have gotten their merit badges by helping us pull debris from people's yards.

Larry Lemmons:
One more thing before we go. We have seen it often and another thing that can easily be prevented. People flicking cigarettes outside the window when they're driving. How dangerous is that?

Helen Graham:
Irresponsible acts, abandoned camp fire, throwing a cigarette out, even a vehicle that overheats on the highway, they are all contributors to wild fires.

Larry Lemmons:
Helen Graham, thanks so much for visiting and talking with us today and fighting the traffic.

Helen Graham:
No problem, thank you.

Larry Lemmons:
New parents, or prospective ones, are inundated with advice about how to raise their small children. Here's some more. Parents need to pay attention to their infants. Seems like common sense, doesn't it? But you might be surprised how many children don't get enough. The brain is the least developed organ at birth when we have about 100 billion nerve cells, most of them unconnected. I went to St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center recently to observe a program that educates parents on their child's needs.

Rachel Lamb:
A baby will pay attention to this, because they can actually see it better.

Larry Lemmons:
Landon is 7 weeks old. He is attracted to a rattle his father is moving across his line of sight. Audrey is six weeks old. She is gazing at herself in the mirror.

Rachel Lamb:
They love faces, they love looking at your face and their own faces. You will learn about eyes in the workshop, children zone in on faces.

Larry Lemmons:
Rachel Lamb, the new program coordinator, is demonstrating a brain box for Audrey and Landon's parents. It consists of every day items that encourage healthy brain development for children under a year old. It is a way to encourage parents to interact with their infants. It might seem commonsensical for parents to play with and hold their children, yet it doesn't always happen. Audrey and Landon are very lucky they have involved and loving parents.

Rachel Lamb:
When you are sharing a book with a baby like that, you are bonding with him. He's feeling secure. And that -- that is firing up right now.

Larry Lemmons:
These children seen in an investigative report grew up in Romanian orphanages. When the dictator was overthrown in 1989, there were 150,000 children in deprived conditions. Many would be unattended for nearly a day. They were emotionally and developmentally disabled. Observers would soon realize how debilitating such neglect would be to children.

Lilia Parra-Roide:
I do see children that have been neglected and they don't develop in the same way. We've known for a long time that children that don't receive as much attention, that don't have good bonding with their parents for different reasons, sometimes a mother didn't want to be pregnant and doesn't devote as much attention to the infant, those children don't develop as well. When you take those children and put them in an environment where they get that kind of attention, they do begin to develop and blossom.

Eloisa Matsch:
What has amazed scientists the most is how fast and how rapid a child's brain develops that first year of life. Okay. It is not like a child's heart, which is a fully developed organ. It is a mini replica of an adult's heart. The brain is not finished yet. To put it in perspective at how fast it is growing that first year, if your baby's body grew as fast as its brain, your baby would weigh 170 pounds by the time it was one.

Larry Lemmons:
Parents and caregivers attending a free workshop "Wired for Success" at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center. It is also being presented by the New Directions Institute, a nonprofit organization. It was researched into the experience of the Romanian orphanages that led to the creation of the institute by A.S.U. Professor Dr. Stamm. The author of "Bright from the Start." new directions focuses on the needs of the child.

Eloisa Matsch:
We have the steps. These are the steps that were developed, security, touch, eyes and play and sound. And these are the simple steps that parents can do and they can use at home to help their child develop a healthy brain. So, the main one, out of all of those, is security. Children need to feel secure. They need to know that they are loved. They need to know that someone is going to be there to meet their needs, and when they feel secure, then they can go on to learn other things. The children like the children in Romania who didn't have that love, who didn't have that security, they had to like nurture themselves and comfort themselves, and, you know, that had a big affect on how their brain developed.

Lilia Parra-Roide:
I was very excited when I saw the material that Dr. Stamm has put together in the program. It's nothing new. I know. I've always told parents, you know, every time a little baby smiles at you, sometimes people say, oh, it is just gas. But, you smile back and it forms a certain synapse in the brain and the wiring starts developing. That smile starts meaning something. Every little thing like that. I have always known intuitively, maybe, also from a lot of my studies and reading that all of those interactions are important.

Larry Lemmons:
Audrey and Landon are constantly growing, constantly learning. Because of the attention given to them by their parents, they should grow into healthy, happy and inquisitive children. It might seem a simple idea, but it could very well be the most important thing in a child's life.

Lilia Parra-Roide:
I was talking to my husband about it, and now, we read to our kids, you talk, narrate the daily events, grocery store, your infant child, but you talk about what you are doing, and those kind of interactions as unimportant as it may seem at the time, and parents know how important that it may seem at the time because they can see when things are working, they can see the child responding. You know when it is going over their head because you lose their attention, but what you're looking for is, you know, making that eye-to-eye contact with the infant or child, whatever age, and you know when you're doing something right, so you try different things with them. And it is all basic stuff, attention.

Larry Lemmons:
Ted Simons spoke recently with the cofounder of the New Directions Institute for Brain Development, Dr. Jill Stamm. Dr. Stamm is a professor at A.S.U., and, as we mentioned, the author of "Bright from the Start." we'll see that, but first, here's a comment from Bill Post, the chairman and CEO of Pinnacle West. Its company, A.P.S., is sponsoring the program "Wired for Success."

Bill Post:
Infant brain development is something that we all should be concerned about. Just think about this. Just think about the change in technology that is occurring today. You know, some of the latest research shows that the internet is growing at the rate of 10 million new pages a day. Now, think back 10, 20, 30 years ago and think about how we developed in terms of our own careers as individuals. Think about the demands that were placed upon us 20, 30 years ago. Just think about a -- go back and look at a television program from 30 years ago, and just see how sophisticated it is. What I predict is you will get tired of watching it in a short period of time. It is very slow, methodical, not demanding like the world we live in today. When we watch the news, we don't get one story at a time, we often get one, two, sometimes three stories simultaneously and we have to grasp that. If you think about the barriers we have had as a culture in the last 20, 30 years, cultural barriers, social barriers, and I would suggest to you as you think about the next 20 to 30 years, potentially one of the largest barriers we have is our intellectual capacity to keep up with growing technology, which is why it is so important for all of us to think about infant brain development and the brain development opportunities that exist by programs like New Directions, where they give parents the opportunity through stimulation, whether that be music, colors, shape, to actually physically change the mental capacity of their children. You know, when you think about the role businesses can play in that, in my own company, Arizona Public Service Company, we have been involved with Jill for several years. Why? One reason, what's more important than your employee's children, and when you focus on the opportunity that is there, you focus not only on the opportunity for employees, but for their children in a world that 20, 30 years from now is going to demand a work force that has the capability of dealing with advancing technology at a pace that is even faster than today. So, yes, there is a business connection to the need to advance intellectual capacity. But there is also the human side of this, families to do something that is the most important thing in their lives, and that's their children.

Ted Simons:
And Jill, thank you so much for joining us on "Horizon."

Dr. Jill Stamm:
Thank you so much.

Ted Simons:
Let's talk about the importance of toys, of activity with stuff for the little mind that is growing.

Dr. Jill Stamm:
Well, stuff is important. Kids love to have items to play with. But one of the things that I get so excited about is I read the research about early brain development. It is not really about the stuff. It's about the relationship. It's about moms and dads connecting with their children one-on-one. Lots of eye contact. Before we went on camera, you and I were joking about eye contact. It's something that all parents can do. All caregivers can do if they understand the importance of simple things like eye contact and face time and responding quickly to the needs of a child. Those kinds of things have a much more elevated level of importance in what we now know are some of the factors that go to impact how a child's brain develops to its maximum potential.

Ted Simons:
Yet there are so many things on the market right now, from Baby Einstein to other stuff, you hear play classical music when a child takes a nap and those sorts of things. Does that stuff work?

Dr. Jill Stamm:
Thank goodness we're doing research to show that it in fact probably isn't doing what parents had been led to believe. It is a perfect example of taking a little bit of information and the good old American entrepreneur making a lot of something out of information that although it may have some basis certainly does not produce brilliant children. There is no one thing that you could say to a parent. There is no magic pill that you could say, all right, if you just do this, your child is going to be fine. They're going to be smart. They're going to go to Harvard, or to A.S.U. so, we need to get real. We need to understand that what children need are -- they need people. They don't need televisions. The impact of watching television on the developing brain is way different than you and I watching television as an adult.

Ted Simons:
Is it to the point where you say no television for the little person?

Dr. Jill Stamm:
Well, the American Academy of Pediatrics is quite clear. They say no television for a child under the age of two.

Ted Simons:
is there a threat that when they discover television, they're glued forever…look at this thing that I never had?

Dr. Jill Stamm:
They're always attracted to novelty. As we know those systems for future cognition coming on line in the tiny little brain, when it is growing itself, earlier in the segment, one of our instructors at New Directions was saying the brain doesn't come fully developed like another part of your body. It literally grows itself through repetitive use and experiences that the child is having. And so, something like television has a detrimental effect before age two, where maybe at age five, it actually can be used as an educational tool. And I think it is very confusing to parents that they don't understand that difference, but the research is finally coming out. This summer in the Journal of Pediatrics, a study that shows that the Baby Einsteins of the world, all of the DVD's that many parents have been led to believe they can put their six month old in front of, actually delayed the initial onset of language. Not that it is going to stay that way forever. One really important thing is that parents need to understand that it is never too late. The brain remains very pliable and plastic throughout the lifetime, and so, thank goodness, because you and I can continue to learn new things as we age. That capacity of a brain to respond to its environment stays.

Ted Simons:
In other words, people listening right now, oh, I could have paid more attention to my kid. It's over now. It's not over now. Start paying attention.

Dr. Jill Stamm:
It's not over. You can start paying attention at any given time at a trajectory along the way. What we know is that brains respond when people pay lots of attention to the individual. And that's true really probably throughout our lifetime. And so the earlier that you get started doing what I call in the book "bright from the start" the ABC's of Early Learning: attention, bonding, communication. The earlier that you start working to assure that you are doing something purposefully every day to bond with your child, let them know that you love them, to help them with attention, and then to talk with them a lot.

Ted Simons:
Very good. Thank you so much for joining us.

Dr. Jill Stamm:
Thank you.

Larry Lemmons:
For more information on this and other stories, please visit our web site at web az.PBS.org.

David Majure:
The state board of education is considering a plan to increase math and science requirements for high school graduation and adopt a new alternative diploma. How climate change may affect your health and an effort to set aside Thanksgiving day to honor Native Americans. Those stories, Wednesday on Horizon.

Larry Lemmons:
I'm Larry Lemmons, thanks for watching.

Announcer:
If you have comments about "Horizon," please contact us at the addresses listed on your screen. Your name and comments may be used on a future edition of "Horizon." "Horizon" is made possible by contributions from the friends of eight, members of your Arizona PBS station. Thank you.

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