Sunday, February 22, 2015

Childhood Trauma...It can't be THAT common, right?

Recently another educator shared this TED talk.  Nadine Burke-Harris refers to childhood trauma as,"things that are so pervasive that they literally get under our skin and change our physiology."  As she continued her TED Talk,  I reflected back on my thoughts about what exactly is childhood trauma? Of course extreme situations come to mind, but unfortunately, many more children are subjected to more trauma than we think.



She continues to explain that many students were referred to her for other issues that typical referrals are for (ie: ADHD).  Through her research and persistence, came across this gem Adverse Childhood Experiences.  The statistics are staggering.  Simply mind blowing.


Through these adverse childhood experiences, many biological components are compromised.  This results in an increase in at-risk behavior and irresponsible behavior.  The term multiple exposures rings true when it comes to teaching kids in poverty.  As I sit back and reflect on some of the kids/families who I have encountered and continue to work with that probably have high scores on the ACE assessment, I immediately began to think about how we could prevent toxic stress in students during the school day or how can we expand our realm and provide/refer families to community service providers?

Schools are no longer secular entities and cannot continue to be.  As intertwined as schools are with the community, today's learner needs to be connected with multiple resources at the school level.  We have a great start with the backpack food programs and in some schools, school-based health care facilities.  Many districts are seeing the need for more mental health support and have integrated that into their menu of services.  So, what is your school doing to combat early adversity and what positive changes have occurred?

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