EMPATHETIC UNDERSTANDING OF: ADVERSE CHILDHOOD EXPERIENCES AS THEY RELATE TO PARENTAL ADDICTIONS.

Image by Robina Weermeijer

 OUR BRAIN ADAPT TO ITS ENVIRONMENT BASED ON THE EXPERIENCES WE HAVE.

WHEN WE EXPERIENCE CHILDHOOD TOXIC STRESS, OUR BRAIN WILL  ADAPT TO STRESS.

THIS ADAPTATION  CAN INCREASE OUR RISK FOR FUTURE SOCIAL, EMOTIONAL, MENTAL,

AND PHYSICAL HEALTH ISSUES. 

Brains Journey to resilience:

Lifelong health is determined by more than just our genes: experiences at sensitive periods of development change the brain in ways that increase or decrease risk for later physical and mental illness, including addiction. That finding is the premise of the Brain Story, which puts scientific concepts into a narrative that is salient to both expert and non-expert audiences. The Brain Story synthesizes decades of research and reflects a body of knowledge that experts agree is useful for policy-makers and citizens to understand.

AFWI LEARN MORE
Brain Story Certification Course

ADVERSE CHILDHOOD EXPERIENCES = A STRESSOR

the 1998 ACEs study (which is where the term ACEs came from) studied the prevelance and impact of  childhood stress, with a focus on these forms of stress:

abuse: physical, emotional, sexual

neglect: emotional, physical

household dysfunction: parental mental illness, parental addiction, incarcerated parent, losing a parent to death or divorce.

Today, it also includes chronic poverty and systemic racism

                                                                

When stress responses are activated frequently, intensively, and persistently during early childhood, the systems involved can become permanently calibrated to activate more easily and may not turn off as readily as they should.

Connecting the Brain to the Rest of the Body: Early Childhood Development and Lifelong Health Are Deeply Intertwined

centre on the developing child

 
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ACEs

Understanding that all children NEED safe, nurturing, and healthy environments and supports to grow with resilience, means also understanding that not all children are able to receive this within their home.

 

Harvard University: Centre on the Developing Child. 

Above graphic created in partnership with Children First Canada's Young Canadian's Parliment and Starlings Community 

BABIES experience stress, too.
Too much stress in childhood (toxic stress) without buffers/ protective factors can cause the brain to adapt to a stressful environment.

STILL FACE EXPERIMENT:

AT BIRTH, HUMAN BABIES CANNOT REGULATE THEIR OWN STRESS RESPONSE.

An adult's calm during a child's stress, helps the child to calm down, and turns off their stress response. This happens over and over again and helps the child's brain to develop in healthy ways. If a child's needs are consistently unmet, or they are chronically emotionally or physically threatened, this can cause a toxic stress response.

And some parents need support in decreasing their stress in order to be an emotionally and physically safe space for their children

Tropical Leaves

CHILDREN ARE NOT BORN RESILIENT, AND DO NOT GROW WITH RESILIENCE BECAUSE OF THE ADVERSITY THEY ENDURE. THEY GROW WITH RESILIENCE BECAUSE OF THE CARING PEOPLE, THE CULTURE, AND THE NURTURING ENVIRONMENT THAT SUPPORTS THEM DESPITE THEIR ADVERSITY.

SUPPORTS

RISK

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Additional resources

 
 
 

Intergenerational Trauma: Residential Schools

Intergenerational Trauma: Africville

The ACE Study: Building Self-Healing Communities

with Dr. Robert Anda:

“ADVERSE CHILDHOOD EXPERIENCES ARE PROGRESSIVE, OF COURSE THEY EFFECT CHILDREN, BUT THEY PILE UP IN ADOLESCENTS AND INTO ADULTHOOD.

 

OUR JOB IS TO STOP THE PROGRESSION AND CREATE

SELF HEALING COMMUNITIES."

"Ending Discrimination with Love, Glitter, and Action" with

Cindy Blackstone