Powerful Federal Hearing on "Identifying, Preventing and Treating Childhood Trauma"

 
Riveting and emotional:  The full, first-ever Congressional hearing on “Identifying, Preventing and Treating Childhood Trauma” by the Oversight Committee chaired by Representative Elijah Cummings.  Across the hearing, the story of developmental trauma is well-conveyed and powerful.
 
The magnitude and the priority of addressing developmental trauma were clear. 
 

For me, it was all almost too incredible to process what I was hearing. Unspeakable awe and emotion!

The video can be viewed in sections for time management (and is posted in the ACEsConnection video section).
 
Two different panels provided testimony. The first panel (less than an hour) was comprised of four, trauma-impacted people who spoke less than 10 minutes each. The second panel members were professional experts in several different areas of trauma science, data, and application.
 
Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings began begins with a single sentence by Robin Williams, from  the movie Goodwill Hunting, “It’s not your fault”.  (beginning at 0:15:50 on the video timer).
 
Later Chairman Cummings shares some of his own struggles in the educational system, where he was misclassified into special education for his elementary years, a fate too frequent for “troubled [trauma-impacted] youth”.
 
Cummings communicates explicitly and very pointedly that “Childhood trauma is a nationwide public health issue associated with an epidemic of negative health consequences. We need a comprehensive, federal approach which recognizes the severe impact of childhood trauma and prioritizes prevention and treatment”.
 
Throughout, Cummings emphasized the requirement for any effort to be “comprehensive” and coordinated; a “whole child” approach.
 
Another explicit thread throughout the hearing was the importance of a front line of intervention in schools via trauma-informed education (and educators).
 

Click here for a few highlights, along with full video testimony.

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In 2000, an Epidemiologist prewnting at [then Dartmouth, now] Geisel Medical School Grand Rounds noted: "52% of Detroit Metropolitan Area Schoolchildren met the DSM-IV criteria for PTSD."  Similar numbers have subsequently been reported in Pholadelphia, Baltimore, Atlanta, and in June of 2018-at five charter schools in New Orleans. 

 

Prevention will mean helping  people who have not been empathically-parented themselves...  harshly parented kids are vulnerable to using the same bad tactics on their own future families. 

There needs to be a resurgence in the intergenerational transmission of stability and security, instead of trauma.  If we care about solving opioids mental health etc we need to solve 0-3!!!!

One intervention which encourages body contact (baby wearing), by providing a soft carrier and telling moms to use it a few hours a day, DOUBLED the rate of secure attachment.

Nurse Family Partnership is another proven intervention.

We have to help people see the innate personhood of newborn babies, get inside their babies' consciousness, and know how to connect, modeling the skills they wish to impart.  Babies connect through body pleasure, physical contact, mutual gazing, prosody and all kinds of ways.... people can learn how to recognize and parse the ways their baby is communicating to them and respond in ways that enhance it.

David Dooley posted:

I heard lots of testimony about intervention, healing, rehabilitation, treatment, and recovery, and little or nothing about the primary prevention of adverse childhood experiences.

Dr. Houry and some of the others advocated more than once about the importance of primary prevention. However, none of them got into details regarding how to do this, but suggested looking at the evidence-based programs that are already developed to further explore prevention, which I thought was as good as one could do when trying to keep a 3.5 hour hearing as concise as possible. 

I was troubled though, when one of the legislators was sort of harping on casual stress as not being equivalent to traumatic stress; and I wished one of the doctors would have taken 15 secs to explain the difference between the different types of stress (positive, tolerable, toxic) and how ACEs and trauma and stress should not always be used interchangeably. 

Lastly, Dr. Bethell is the bomb-diggity!

Robin M Cogan posted:

I am so inspired by the testimony. I shared it with my Rutgers University School Nurse Certification students during our week-long class: Issues and Trends in Health Education. Rep Ayanna Pressley spoke about how it was her school nurse who identified her signs of trauma and abuse. 2:55:02 is where you can hear the Congresswoman share her story. 

Several people testifying — both those with lived experience and the expert witnesses — mentioned the importance of school nurses. Wish we’d had a “you” around when I was in school!  

I am so inspired by the testimony. I shared it with my Rutgers University School Nurse Certification students during our week-long class: Issues and Trends in Health Education. Rep Ayanna Pressley spoke about how it was her school nurse who identified her signs of trauma and abuse. 2:55:02 is where you can hear the Congresswoman share her story. 

David Dooley posted:

I heard lots of testimony about intervention, healing, rehabilitation, treatment, and recovery, and little or nothing about the primary prevention of adverse childhood experiences.

Hi David,  sadly, contrary to the title of the Hearing,   I think I'd need to agree with you as far as scarcity of detailed discussions regarding prevention.  Nevertheless it was an auspicious beginning.

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