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Victims of the Syrian Civil War: Plight of Syria’s Children

At least 652 children were killed in Syria in 2016, making it the worst year as of yet for the children in Syria's history of civil war.

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Syria, Mar 15, 2017: At least 652 children were killed in Syria in 2016, making it the worst year as of yet for the children in Syria’s history of civil war, according to data released by UNICEF two days before the 6th anniversary of the uprising that turned into civil war, as reported by PTI.

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255 children were killed in or near schools in 2016. 1 out of every 3 schools in Syria is unusable, due to occupation by armed groups and 1.7 million children are out of school. An additional 2.3 million Syrian children are refugees throughout the Middle East.

In violation of laws of war, attacks on schools, hospitals, playgrounds, parks and homes by both the Syrian government and it’s opponents were frequent in 2016.

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Dozens of Syrian children are dying from preventable diseases, due to lack of proper medical care. The evils of the war has forced many children into child labor, early marriage, and combat. At least 851 children were recruited by armed factions in 2016 which is more than double of 2015.

Save the Children, an international charity in a report released a week ago had said that signs of “toxic stress” are occurring amongst the youngsters, which consequences into lifelong health problems, addiction and mental disorders which might continue into adulthood.

Prepared by Upama Bhattacharya. Twitter @Upama_myself

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Piano Lessons Make Children Smarter, Claims New Study

However it did not appear to confer any benefit for overall cognitive ability, as measured by IQ, attention span, and working memory, the researchers said

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Piano lessons make children smarter, claims new study
Piano lessons make children smarter, claims new study. Pixabay

If your kid is slow in language skills, then sending him or her for piano lessons can improve word discrimination as well as language proficiency, says a study.

The findings suggested that piano lessons may have specific effect on the children’s ability to distinguish different pitches, which helped them to better distinguish different words.

However it did not appear to confer any benefit for overall cognitive ability, as measured by IQ, attention span, and working memory, the researchers said.

“The children didn’t differ in the more broad cognitive measures, but they did show some improvements in word discrimination, particularly for consonants. The piano group showed the best improvement there,” said Robert Desimone from The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

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Representational image. Pixabay

The study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, included data from nearly 100 children aged four or five years, who were divided into three groups — one that received 45-minute piano lessons three times a week; one that received extra reading instruction for the same period of time; and one that received neither intervention.

After six months, the researchers tested the children on their ability to discriminate words based on differences in vowels, consonants, or tone.

The results showed that, children who had piano lessons showed a significant advantage over children in the extra reading group in discriminating between words that differ by one consonant.

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Children in both the piano group and extra reading group performed better than children who received neither intervention when it came to discriminating words based on vowel differences.

“That’s a big thing for kids in learning language: being able to hear the differences between words. They really did benefit from that,” Desimone added.

The researchers hope their findings could encourage other schools to keep or enhance their music offerings. (IANS)

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