The Adverse Childhood Experiences Study and Why it Matters

In life, getting dealt a hand of ACEs is surely not the thrill that it is in a card game. But thanks to the ACE study, communities are developing creative ways to intervene and prevent intergenerational transmission of the issues caused by high ACE scores.

In most card games aces are valued and prized. In life, getting dealt a hand of ACEs is surely not the thrill that it is in a card game.

The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study highlights the long-term negative impact of traumatic events in childhood. The results are staggering. Childhood trauma has potentially devastating consequences in many realms: physical, behavioral, emotional, social, and financial.

Download: Finding Your ACE Score Questionnaire

Physical fallout includes increased smoking, addictions, chronic diseases, obesity, STD’s, and fetal death. With a score of 6 or more life expectancy is shortened by 20 years.

The behavioral impact includes a much higher suicide risk, and increased likelihood of being a perpetrator or victim of violence, risky sexual behavior, and more marriages.

Emotionally, higher ACE scores correlate with a dramatically elevated risk of depression, anxiety, PTSD, conduct disorder, and learning problems.

The social consequences are stunning. With a score of 4 or more we see lower academic achievement, poor social skills, more delinquent and criminal behavior, and even food insecurity in the family.

In looking at the financial ramifications of high ACE scores we see expenses related to criminal justice, healthcare, and behavioral health costs, and family financial stress.

In fact, the lifetime cost of nonfatal child abuse and neglect in 2008 was over $210,000 per victim, and the total lifetime economic burden in the U.S. was a whopping $124 billion.

Not all the news is bad.

There has been a recent surge of interest in the ACE Study and communities are developing creative ways to intervene and prevent intergenerational transmission of the issues caused by high ACE scores.

To find out how you can help build stronger, healthier communities, please join us for a webinar that will arm you with tools to help individuals and families with high ACE scores. We’ll talk about prevention, intervention, and how you can use this information in your work with people in community.

-Martha Teater, MA, LMFT, LCAS, LPC


This blog was contributed by PESI speaker Martha Teater, MA, LMFT, LCAS, LPC.  Martha has been in private practice in NC since 1990. She is a speaker in the US and internationally on compassion fatigue, evidence-based treatment of trauma, DSM-5, and behavioral treatment of chronic pain. You can learn more about Martha at www.MarthaTeater.com and www.teaterhs.com


Join Martha Teater on July 7 from 1-2:30 EST for the live webinar—ACEs: What You Need to Know TODAY About the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study—to learn how you can help your community intervene and prevent issues caused by high ACE scores.

ACEs

Environmental Enrichment: A Multisensory Enrichment Protocol for Autism

Environmental Enrichment (EE) was designed as a low-cost program that has been shown to decrease autism symptoms and sensory issues and increase receptive language and cognitive skills at home. In this blog from Teresa Garland, MOT, OTR/L, you can download a free EE activity worksheet.

Environmental Enrichment (EE) is an awesome protocol that has been shown to decrease autism symptoms and sensory issues and to increase receptive language and cognitive skills in children with ASD of all ages. It was designed as a low-cost program for parents to do at home, but it can also be done in a school setting, or better yet, shared between home and school.

EE is a 6-month protocol with activities that change every two weeks. Parents/teachers select several multi-sensory activities from a list of 34 activities and do them for the two week period. They work with the child twice a day for about 15-20 minutes each. As the sessions progress, the child gains awareness of sensation and gains multi-sensory integration skills. The activities also build joint-attention skills, which are known to decrease autism severity.

The protocol is simply described in two published papers available for free online (see references below for more information).

In addition, my book, Hands-On Activities for Children with Autism & Sensory Disordersdevotes 80 pages to the protocol, providing approximately 200 activity variations and talking through program implementation details, including the Draw What You Feel activity.

Download the Draw What You Feel Activity (It’s FREE!)

Give it a try and let me know how it goes!


Teresa Garland, MOT, OTR/L, is an occupational therapist and author specializing in sensory and modulation issues. Garland works closely with other health professionals, teachers and doctors to understand and treat underlying sensory, timing, and coordination/motor planning issues as well as overlying socio/emotional behaviors in the symptoms of autism. She is the author of two books: Self-Regulation Interventions and Strategies: Keeping the Body, Mind and Emotions on Task in Children with Autism, ADHD or Sensory Disorders and Hands-On Activities for Children with Autism & Sensory Disorders.

She writes a blog at otselfregulation.blogspot.com/.


Woo, C. C., & Leon, M. (2013). Environmental enrichment as an effective treatment for autism: A randomized controlled trial. Behavioral Neuroscience, 487-97.

Woo, C., Donnelly, J. H., Steinberg-Epstein, R. R., & Leon, M. (2015). Environmental enrichment as a therapy for autism: a clinical trial replication and extension. Behavioral Neuroscience, 412-422.

5 Postures to Help Deepen Your Breath

In this short video, psychotherapist, award-winning author and former Buddhist monk, Donald Altman, demonstrates 5 postures to help deepen your breath.

We are all born belly breathers, but as stress sets in, we quickly begin to take shallow chest breaths. But deep abdominal breathing, where air fully fills your lungs and your lower belly rises, has many benefits including slowing your heart rate, reducing blood pressure and relieving stress.

In this short video, psychotherapist, award-winning author and former Buddhist monk, Donald Altman, demonstrates 5 postures to help deepen your breath.


Donald Altman, MA, LPC, is a teacher and adjunct faculty at Portland State University. He is also a faculty member of the Interpersonal Neurobiology program at Portland State University and teaches various classes blending mindfulness and Interpersonal Neurobiology.


Sign up for a FREE CE video: One Minute Mindfulness featuring Donald Altman, M.A., LPC.

OneMinuteMindfulnessCE

EMDR: Safety and Stabilization

In addition to improved practice outcomes, effective integration of EMDR can lead to the long-term trauma resolution that your clients so desperately desire. But we need to stop and ask: when and with whom do we use EMDR?

In addition to improved practice outcomes, effective integration of EMDR can lead to the long-term trauma resolution that your clients so desperately desire. But we need to stop and ask: when and with whom do we use EMDR?

Linda Curran, BCPC, LPC, CACD, CCDPD met with internationally recognized experts to discuss the right applications for EMDR. In this short video, you’ll hear from Bessel van der Kolk, Babette Rothschild, Peter A. Levine, Belleruth Naperstek, Robin Shapiro, and David Grand on their experiences of using EMDR with clients.


Want to learn more about EMDR? Linda Curran, BCPC, LPC, CACD, CCDPD has collaborated with the world’s leaders in trauma (Bessel van der Kolk, M.D.; Peter Levine, Ph.D.; Babette Rothschild, MSW, LCS; Stephen Porges, Ph.D.; Janina Fisher, Ph.D.; and many more) to guide you step-by-step as you learn and integrate EMDR therapy into your practice for effective treatment outcomes. And you can learn it all from the comfort of home.

EMDR


Linda Curran, BCPC, LPC, CACD, CCDPD, is president of Integrative Trauma Treatment, LLC, in Havertown, PA. Currently, she provides clients an integrative approach to trauma, and treats PTSD in adolescent and adult populations, including clients with eating disorders, sexual trauma, and self-injury. An international speaker on the treatment of trauma, Linda has developed, produced, and presents multi-media workshops on all aspects of psychological trauma.

Linda is the author of best selling Trauma Competency: A Clinician’s Guide (PPM, 2010) and her newest book 101 Trauma-Informed Interventions (PPM, 2013).

ATNR: A Hidden Culprit of Poor Handwriting Posture

For most children, following proper writing posture is no problem. But what about Johnny, a bright child in your class who just can’t follow your directions to sit up straight. Is it that Johnny just wants to look cool slouched in his chair, or is something bigger going on?

We know that good posture is important to ensure stress on your muscles, joints and ligaments is distributed evenly across your body. Proper posture when writing is especially important, so it’s no wonder we spend so much time teaching our children what proper handwriting posture looks like:

  • Feet flat on the floor
  • Thighs parallel to floor and knees at a 90 degree angle
  • Back up straight, inclined towards the desk and pivoted from the hips
  • Forearms resting on desk with elbows level with the desktop at 90 degrees
  • Paper stabilized with non-dominant hand
  • Neck and shoulders relaxed
  • Body faces desk squarely so non-dominant arm can support body weight
  • Paper tilted to the up to the right (if right handed) or up to the (if left handed)

For most children, following this posture is no problem. But what about Johnny, a bright child in your class who just can’t follow your directions to sit up straight? Is it that Johnny just wants to look cool slouched in his chair, or is something bigger going on?

In the video below, Kathy Johnson, MS Ed., explores what happens to handwriting when the Asymmetrical Tonic Neck Reflex (ATNR) is retained.


This blog was brought to life by PESI speaker Kathy Johnson, MS Ed.

Kathy Johnson, author of The Roadmap From Learning Disabilities To Success, is a nationally recognized expert in multiple therapy methods including: Primitive Reflex Training, Therapeutic Listening, Samonas Listening, PACE, Phono-Graphix, Irlen Syndrome, Brain Gym 101, and An Introduction to Rhythmic Movement.


Dyslexia, Dyscalculia and Dysgraphia: An Integrated Approach

A new online course. Earn 6+ CE Hours from the comfort of home.
Online Course: Dyslexia, Dyscalculia, and Dysgraphia

Simple Breath Awareness: An exercise to fight stress, anxiety and insomnia

You can use this simple breath awareness exercise from the classic text, “The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali,” in a therapy session to help the client direct their attention to internal states and balance their autonomic nervous system.

Dr. Daniel Siegel, pioneer in Interpersonal Neurobiology, maintains that just being aware of the breath helps the brain to regulate and organize itself, promoting integration and increasing the thickness of the myelin sheath. In an unintegrated brain, a person has an option of either having a chaotic or rigid brain process, with nothing in between.

He writes on his website…

For the brain, integration means that separated areas with their unique functions, in the skull and throughout the body, become linked to each other through synaptic connections. These integrated linkages enable more intricate functions to emerge—such as insight, empathy, intuition, and morality. A result of integration is kindness, resilience, and health.

You can use this simple breath awareness exercise from the classic text, “The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali,” in a therapy session to help the client direct their attention to internal states and balance their autonomic nervous system.

The following practice worked well for my client, Sue, who had difficulty focusing her thoughts and trouble falling asleep. After learning this practice, she was able to practice breath awareness on her own at home and eventually eliminated her dependence on sleeping medication.

Use this script with your clients, and remember to practice it yourself to learn first-hand about the benefits.

Start by focusing on the place in your body where you can hear your breath.

(Pause for one minute)

Now, notice any movement of your body as you breathe.

(Pause)

Next, feel the breath as it enters and leaves the nostrils, so your entire awareness becomes focused on the nostrils.

(Pause)

How do you feel? Do you notice a difference between how you felt before the breath awareness exercises and how you feel now?

Remember clients are not instructed to change their breathing pattern at all, although it may change spontaneously as the practice continues.


This blog was brought to life by PESI speaker Joann Lutz. She has been training mental health professionals to bring trauma-informed yoga into their healing work nationally and internationally for the past six years, bringing this work to universities, conferences, hospitals, ashrams and yoga centers.

Video: Emotional Responsiveness with Dr. Tina Payne Bryson

When you nurture your child’s emotional world, you help build the connective fibers that make the reactive centers of their brains more readily and easily calmed down. Over time, these repeated emotional responsive interactions change your child’s brain in a way that allows them to have better behavior and better emotional regulation. Learn more from Dr. Tina Payne Bryson…

When nurturing your child’s emotional world, you help build the connective fibers that make the reactive centers of their brain more readily and easily calm down. Over time, these repeated emotional responsive interactions change your child’s brain in a way that allows them to have better behavior and emotional regulation.

Whether positive, negative, or reactive, you must observe when your child is experiencing an emotion and validate it. Learn more from Dr. Tina Payne Bryson, co-author (with Dan Siegel, M.D.) of two New York Times bestsellers: The Whole-Brain Child and No-Drama Discipline.


Tina Payne Bryson, Ph.D., is the Executive Director of the Center for Connection in Pasadena, CA and a pediatric and adolescent psychotherapist. Dr. Bryson serves as the Child Development Expert at St. Mark’s School in Altadena, CA. Dr. Bryson travels internationally, lecturing to educators, mental health professionals, and parents.

You can learn more about Dr. Bryson at TinaBryson.com, and subscribe to her blog to read her articles about kids and parenting.

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