Dear Illinois ACE Connection members,
Children and families from all demographic and socioeconomic backgrounds in Illinois experience trauma, adversity, and chronic stress. Social determinants such as where we live, work, and play, can further exacerbate positive or negative physical, emotional, and behavioral health issues. The critical factor that determines if a child, family, and/or community can manage trauma, adversity, and chronic stress successfully is resilience: the process by which the child, family, and/or community moves through a traumatic/stressful event, utilizing various protective factors for support, and returns to “baseline” in terms of an emotional and physiologic response to the stressor.
Caregivers and those in other support systems – including pediatricians and other child-serving professionals – have the unique opportunity to bolster key protective factors for children and families to prevent long-term negative outcomes. Those critical protective factors include:
- Caregiver Resilience
- Social Connections
- Concrete Support in Times of Need
- Knowledge of Parenting and Child Development
- Social and Emotional Competence of Children
To learn more about these protective factors and strategies for building resilience, I urge Illinois child and family professionals to participate in the Illinois Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics' 9th Annual ABC Conference, You Don’t Have to be a Therapist to be Therapeutic: Building Resilience in Children, Families, Communities, and Ourselves. It will be held on Friday, November 16, 2018 in Palos Hills, IL. The 9th Annual ABC Conference theme builds on previous themes in which providers learned about trauma-informed care, social determinants of health, compassion fatigue, and interprofessional collaboration.
The original “ABC” (Autism, Behavior, and Complex Medical Needs) Conference has expanded to address Advocating for children’s health, Behavioral/developmental health, and Complex health needs. This expansion is consistent with the evolution of American Academy of Pediatrics policies and priorities as well as the broader understanding of “special needs” children to include children who have experienced trauma, adversity, and negative social determinants of health. This understanding also enables ICAAP to provide tools and resources to leverage the individual and collective power of pediatrician and other child-health experts’ voices in public arenas.
The ABC Conference routinely and explicitly promotes cross-sector collaboration, relationship building, and networking among multiple child-serving systems. This strategy more effectively supports the children and families we serve and of equal importance, each other. No single child-serving system can, in isolation, address all the social, psychological, environmental, and economic needs of children and families. Participants (including physicians, allied health providers, and community service providers) learn together. They will discover strategies to navigate the realities of service delivery in Illinois, advocate for those we serve, and embrace an organizational culture that promotes professional, family, and community resilience.
For more information about the upcoming and past ABC Conferences, please visit http://illinoisaap.org/conferences/abc/. I hope to see you on Friday, November 16th. Thank you for all of the work that you do.
Mariana Glusman, MD, FAAP
Illinois Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics (ICAAP)