Anthony Allison is the executive director of Norwalk ACTS.
Shout Out to Childhood Conversations, Connecticut Office of Early Childhood and Together We Will for hosting the Facing Today’s Challenges, Embracing Tomorrow’s Success Conference: Children and Families Facing Trauma and creating a platform for an important conversation centered around our young people.
According to Keynote Speaker, Patsy Carter, Ph.D., toxic stress has been the focus of much research over the past 20 years. “Today we know much more about what trauma is and how it impacts brain development, emotional and behavioral regulation, learning and relationships. The goal now is make sure schools and organizations are trauma informed,” she said. This will begin to change the conversation from what’s wrong with you to what happened to you.
I attended both days of the conference and it was gut wrenching to learn on a deeper level about the ramifications and devastation that trauma has on our children, families, communities and society overall. But, I was also left in awe of the knowledge and dedication that the participants in the conference shared on how best to support children who are dealing with trauma. I implore all of you to learn more about the effects of trauma on our children, and consider your role in our work to create a system that will support the Social-Emotional needs of Norwalk’s children.
Shout Out to The Child Guidance Center of Mid-Fairfield County for receiving grants to pilot Bounce Back, the Cognitive Behavioral Intervention for Trauma in Schools (CBITS) for children exposed to traumatic events, in three elementary schools. Bounce Back is a skills-based, child group intervention that is aimed at relieving symptoms of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, depression and general anxiety among children exposed to multiple forms of trauma. Currently, CBITS is being provided for Norwalk’s International Academy students at both Norwalk and Brien McMahon High Schools.
The Child Guidance Center of Mid-Fairfield County is also piloting a five-part training series on Trauma-Informed Care (TIC) for staff at six Norwalk elementary schools. The TIC trainings were developed for school staff to promote a stronger understanding of trauma, how it affects a child’s behavior and ability to learn in school, and to help build a system more responsive to the needs of Norwalk’s children.