How can we help adults react positively to behavior of chronically stressed children? A first step is raising awareness that there is such a thing as chronic stress, and that it affects children’s behavior. The ISAAC Early Childhood and Education Task Force has organized screenings of the Raising of America videos on chronic trauma, Wounded Places and DNA is Not Destiny. A person with experience in the field of trauma provides additional insight and answers audience questions after the screening. Over 320 community members have participated in these awareness-building events since July 2016.

The heightened awareness has elicited a variety of helpful insights and responses. At one congregation, participants learned how the concept of childhood chronic trauma changed a teacher’s response to her students’ misbehavior. Staff at a local nonprofit discussed how they might interact differently with the children in their programs and even alter their program planning. Participants at a nonprofit that provides immediate assistance welcomed the insight that Wounded Places gave them into some of their customers, who struggle with mental health and addiction. After a screening of Wounded Places, a housing advocate noted that the opposite of addiction is not sobriety, but connection—a key to resilience in the face of chronic trauma.

Eleven organizations have hosted 14 screenings of the Raising of America DVDs. Three more screenings are scheduled. All three are for specific groups and thus not open to the public. If your organization would like to host a screening, please schedule as soon as possible, for the Task Force will set up screenings just through May 2017. To schedule, please contact Denise Hartsough at denise.hartsough@gmail.com or 269-599-1801.

– Denise Hartsough, Early Childhood & Education Task Force member

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