How living conditions of Poverty affect child’s development?

Carolyn Martin
How living conditions of Poverty affect child’s development?
 Please look at this Power-point I put together….

How living conditions of poverty affect children’s growth presentation






The actual living conditions of living in poverty can majorly affect a child’s growth and development in many different ways and can be mild to serve.

( )  Children that live in low-income housing can be temporary delayed by an illness such as reoccurring respiratory infections or permanent damage to their growth or development by lead poisoning, mold, or lack of basic needs to name just as a few. With this research paper, I will analyze not only research but also some first-hand experience in dealing with real life issues that happen with living in low-income housing and the repercussions on a child’s life.

As part of my research, I put together a questionnaire to pass to people at Kellogg Community College (KCC) and to people in my neighborhood. I found a big difference between the two different groups of people.

  • The people at KCC did not struggle with basic needs, some expressed that programs in the area were great, and more than three quarters were from incomes above $25,000.
  • The people in my neighborhood that filled out the questionnaire all had an income of less than $20,000 with 10 out of 15 being under $10,000, 75% of these people that the programs didn’t fully help their needs. There were 6 people that explained that it is not really the programs but the folks who run these programs. The folks tend to speak to them as if they were stupid, pass judgment, or treat them as if they were incompetent; therefore, the people do not want to cooperate fully with the programs requirements. Two people expressed that there needs to be a change to the process in which people who need rent assistance, receives it. Six people have or have had issues with lead in home.

DHS will only help if a person is being evicted from a home. To get a new or better home, a landlord will require that a person has no evictions; therefore, a person has no choice but to get housing from landlords that don’t care about a previous eviction. These landlords tend to be slum lords. A slum home tends to be damaged and not up to code, filled with mold and mildew, cold in winter without plastic covering every window and blankets covering doorways, bad electrical or has lead paint in them (Chapter 2, Sanchez- Jankowski, 2008). So, someone with limited income or pervious evictions have no choice but to stay in these kinds of homes. Then, the other factor is that other places like HUD in the area require a person to have good credit; therefore, a person who has suddenly lost income and have fallen behind on bills will not get help. Then, there are the people who abuse the programs make it hard for the people who really need the help, to get the needed help. There was a case just on the news of some major abuse of federal and state programs ( These people who abuse the programs make the programs even more regulated.

The lacks of good housing cause health problems that affect the children’s growth and development. Lead poisoning is very damaging to a child’s heath, growth and development ( ). It can cause serve to mild issues including ADD and death ( ). Lead poisoning can be transmitted from mother to child during pregnancy as well; the mother may not even know it ( ). Lead poisoning is one issue that was recently in the news for causing a child to become very ill. I could not find the article for this paper but it was broadcasted on WWMT a couple of months or so. Lead poisoning seriously affects a child’s physical development by making the child very ill in a number of ways including crippling the child physically; therefore the child will be prevented from developing needed gross and fine motor skills. It can severely damage the child’s brain causing a child’s cognitive skills to be limited or be permanently delayed. The social/emotional effects are massive and in most cases permanent whether it is a self-esteem issue or the inability to interact socially or deal emotionally within the world. (Flick, 1996)

Toxic mold is another problem in low income housing. Exposure to mold can cause children to have asthma symptoms, upper respiratory infections, and frequent cold like symptoms ( ). With extended exposure, the child could develop permanent health problems that will affect their physical development. A child with asthma will not be able to participate in needed activities for gross motor skills. A sickly child will not learn appropriately for many reasons including being on medication, bed or in hospital, or developing a condition like asthma; therefore, their cognitive skills lack depending on the severity of the illness and depending if the illness causes disabilities. The child will develop some psychological problems like ADD and affect their self-esteem linking the social/emotional problems. The child is not able to participate in sports or other family functions due to being ill all the time; the child may even feel bad because mom can’t afford to go to the doctors.

Good affordable health care is hard to find for people with low-income living in poverty; therefore, the mothers of these sick children struggle to get them treated. The reasons for a child to be sick may be many different reasons including asthma or ADD. These can be inherited but the rates of children living in poverty and bad low-income housing the rates of illness are significantly higher and mostly the contributing factor, especially, for African Americans and other minority groups such as Latino ( ).

The simple fact is that some doctors are not familiar with real life problems with low-income housing and so they sometimes don’t just use common sense. The child may simply be sick due to home environment and not heredity regardless if the parents have or seem to have some educational or learning dysfunctions.

Here in Battle Creek, we have the Family Health Center (FHC) for low income people, this center is just one of a few that I know of. The FHC I have found to be a very caring and competent group of people but there are a few friends of mine that have had some trouble. My friend Tina (not real name) had a very ill child. She was going back and forth to the doctor’s constantly trying to find out what was wrong with her child. After making a trip to Grand Rapids hospital out of desperation, the cause was found her child had lead poisoning. I personally think the doctor kept having her back to get the Medicaid payments; for the simple fact, the doctor knew she lived in public housing and his symptoms were quit text book. I have had a few other friends complain of the same thing. Funny thing is that they now call me to tell me there child’s symptoms before going to the doctors and want to know what I think is going on so they have an idea of what questions to ask the doctor.

Three out of four of my children have troubles all varying. It is just one of them things if I knew then what I know I would have done things differently. When my oldest child was a baby, I lived in a home that had roaches so bad I had to take my son in to the doctor for extreme distress only to find that a roach had crawled into his ear. Then, when I had my second son the house we lived in was condemned for being hazardous (water damage, mold and mildew, rodents, roaches).Then, when I was pregnant with my third son, I had a high level of lead in my body causing me to be sick and again it was the home I lived in. I had lived in the house with my two babies and while being pregnant. My oldest son now has been diagnosed with schizophrenia, Bi-polar depressive disorder and ADD; I am having so much trouble with him, I don’t know what to do. My second son has Asperger’s Syndrome a mild form of Autism, my third son has a hype active thyroid and ADD, and my daughter is completely fine, why because I lived in good housing and had resources very different living arrangements than when my boys were born. My three youngest children live with their grandma in Florida simple because she can afford to send them to private school and get the extra better help than I can give them. My children are her only grandchildren. I could literally go about 10-15 more pages with research and my personal experiences with this subject. Living in poverty affects so many different aspects of a child’s life that this paper only touched the surface of the subject.

I will use this information, my medical background, and my personal experiences to help parents and their children to maximize their educational needs. As, I have found education has been the number one thing in my life that has helped me. For example, I just had a lead test done in my apartment. The levels were just a little high so I put a mask on and fixed the problem myself. I retested and know the level is now within living limits, none. I know how it feels to live in these kinds of homes trying my best to live a decent life with what I have. The sooner a problem is found the better the results. Children in poverty already have a disadvantage socially, they should be able to at least lay there head down to sleep in a safe home that will not make them sick or worse kill them.


Flick, Grad L. (1996). Power Parenting for Children with ADD/ADHD, A Practical Parent’s Guide For Managing Difficult Behaviors. The Center for Applied Research in Education

Medcalf, Neva Ann. (2008). KIDWATHCHING IN JOSIE’S WORLD, A Study of Children in Homelessness. University Press of America

Sanchez-Jankowski, Martin. (2008). Cracks In The Pavement, Social Change and Resilience in Poor Neighborhoods. University of California Press



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