Early Literacy Research Library (ELRL) - Article

Closing the Gap: Addressing Adversity and Promoting Early Childhood Development

Darcy-Mahoney, A., Dooley, D.G., Davis, N.V., Stephens, M., Falusi, O.O. (2019) Closing the Gap: Addressing Adversity and Promoting Early Childhood Development. Advances in Family Practice Nursing, 1, 183-199.,

Access: FREE/Open Access

Publication year


study description


core topic(s)

Pediatric Primary Care

Population Characteristics

Medical Providers , Poverty/Low-Income

Exposures, Outcomes, Other

Brain/Neurocognitive , Child Development (general) , Clinic-Based Programs and Interventions , Disparity/Adversity , Language and Literacy Development , Mental Health , Parent-Provider Relationships/Interactions , Positive Parenting


This paper strives to highlight aspects of the early childhood primary care visit that are critical for the FNP to promote optimal early brain and child development.


Primary care visit.

outcomes evaluated

Early brain and childhood development.


Topics Discussed: Poverty as a social health determinant; Adverse childhood experiences; Addressing adverse childhood experiences and poverty; Early childhood education, a critical ingredient for development; High-quality language interactions and health.




Early childhood is a critical period of brain development, and access to literacy rich environments, caring adults, and quality early childhood education play important roles. Family nurse practitioners play an important role in guiding families through early childhood. Family nurse practitioners, through clinical practice and connections to community resources, can help buffer the negative effects of poverty and toxic stress. Family nurse practitioners can promote a family-centered approach in order to develop interventions to promote early childhood development that are strengths based and culturally sensitive.


In any of these roles and settings where FNPs care for patients during early childhood, FNPs are ideally suited to provide a family-oriented approach and partner with parents and other important caregivers to design interventions and treatment plans to mitigate ACEs and to promote health, education, and literacy.


Not discussed.