With 1.2 billion adolescents under its global mandate, it is crucial for UNICEF to identify the right periods or “windows of opportunities” for cost-efficient, scalable interventions to improve adolescent well-being. Over the past decade, a growing body of scientific knowledge has improved understanding of how experience and environment combine with genetics to shape the adolescent brain. Advances in neuroscience reveal that the adolescent brain is still a work in progress, offering a crucial second window of opportunity to influence the development of children in their second decade of life.
In The Adolescent Brain: A second window of opportunity, a new compendium publication produced by UNICEF Innocenti, eight experts in adolescent neuroscience present emerging findings from their research. Using accessible language, the main aim of the publication is to foster better collaboration between the scientific research community and social service providers to better counteract the effects of trauma and vulnerabilities and lay a better foundation for optimal adolescent development. The compendium builds on the discussions initiated at the 2016 symposium of the same name hosted at UNICEF headquarters, where presenters delivered their findings to review the state of science related to adolescent brain.