What’s going on in the teenage brain?

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Transgender Trend published a new article this week called ‘The Teenage Brain’. Consultant Neuropsychologist Dr Sallie Baxendale presents a brief overview of how the teenage brain develops over a period of time, how this ongoing process is complex and how teens’ prioritisation of feelings over facts influences their ability to make decisions. This is further discussed in the context of the prescribing of puberty blockers to adolescents who are trans-identified, and how these drugs may impact both their developing brain and how they may affect the ‘windows of opportunity’ the brain has to gain new skills.

It is a fascinating read, and the two sections of the article are provided as downloadable pdf files – helpful for parents to print out for schools and other settings.

The recommended further reading includes the compendium from the 2016 UNICEF Symposium on adolescent brain development. The symposium:

…brought together experts in adolescent neuroscience to discuss this emerging science and how we can apply it to support all adolescents – but especially those already facing risks to their well-being….The articles in this compendium elaborate on some of the ideas shared at the symposium. Together, they provide a broad view of the dynamic interactions among physical, sexual and brain development that take place during adolescence. They highlight some of the risks to optimal development – including toxic stress, which can interfere with the formation of brain connections, and other vulnerabilities unique to the onset of puberty and independence.

We would add to this and recommend the following book by neuroscientist Sarah-Jayne Blakemore, expanding on the topic of brain development and how changes during adolescence influence teenage behaviours and emotions.