The Toxic Stress of Early Childhood Adversity (trauma)

Unfortunately the public policy part of the video I’m sharing below makes me squeamish because all to often children who are introduced to the system by any method are drugged and mistreated in a panoply of additional ways. That’s often what happens these days on the ground. It’s easy to look at the science and talk about it from on high, but on the ground that science often gets mangled and handled by pharma and professionals who don’t understand the complexity of the issues. So this heavy “prevention” stuff sounds great, but I am concerned about what it might mean in reality.

Still that these issues are being discussed and becoming conscious is also good. Our culture of abuse needs to be revealed for what it is. The layers and layers of awakening that need to occur across society notwithstanding.

The Forum at the Harvard School of Public Health

Evidence suggests that for the youngest children, prolonged or severe exposure to abuse, neglect and economic hardship — exacerbated by a dearth of stable, supportive relationships with adults — can provoke a “toxic stress response” with lifelong consequences. Such stress may influence brain development and increase the risk for illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes. While efforts have been made for decades to intervene early in children’s lives, the results have not always been resounding. This Forum event examined how health and education policies can be both harnessed and revamped to counteract early childhood adversity and included a discussion of a new policy statement, “Early Childhood Adversity, Toxic Stress, and the Role of the Pediatrician: Translating Developmental Science Into Lifelong Health,” issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics

From The Forum: At Harvard School of Public Health

“What the science is telling us is that what happens early on affects lifelong health…So this is a game-changer for how the policy deals with toxic stress. This is for the health committees as much as it’s for the education committees. It’s as much for the Secretary of Public Health as it is for the Secretary of Education because what happens early on affects both, lifelong.” 4

Jack Shonkoff

“Rather than saying to the parents, ‘You are a problem,’ what we have to say to the parents is, ‘There are some things going on in your life that are having a tremendous effect on you and your child. Let’s see if we can figure out a way to help and make that situation better.’” 7

Robert Block

“There is no silver bullet solution here. I think it really requires us having a more systemic look at the well-being of our kids and putting that front and center. So our Administration is going to remain committed to that goal.” 9

Roberto J. Rodríguez

h/t Research Connections

More on this topic on Beyond Meds:

●  Generational pain

●  The legacy of childhood trauma

●  Trauma, not brain disease, is the cause of your distress

Books:

●  The Drama of the Gifted Child — Alice Miller

●  Trauma and Recovery — Judith Hermann

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