Chicago: "Partnerships between teachers and doctors" will help deal with toxic stress in kids

Jan 5, 2018, Ary News: (Chicago) Doctors and teachers could team up to reduce stress in schools Partnerships between teachers and doctors could help students and school staffers better deal with “toxic stress,” suggests a former teacher turned doctor. Pediatricians can help build resilience in both children and teachers to counter the effects of traumatic childhood experiences, poverty and violence, Dr. Kavitha Selvaraj of the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago writes in the journal Pediatrics. … These adverse childhood experiences, also known as ACEs, and early exposure to poverty can lead to toxic stress in children and negative health problems later in life. They also contribute to a higher chance of heart attack, stroke, mental health problems and substance abuse. … Pediatricians and teachers can team up to ask students, “What is happening to you?” rather than focusing on, “Why are you behaving this way?”, she said. Children with toxic stress have complex educational, behavioral and medical needs that can’t be handled by one industry or one person. Doctor-school collaborations have been successful for children with development disorders, ADHD, undernutrition, obesity, food allergies and asthma. Toxic stress can be added to that list, Selvaraj said. Addressing teacher stress, too, can help with burnout and teacher turnover. She suggests giving teachers a professional support network, strategies to de-escalate charged situations and ways to manage behavior in children with high ACE scores. … In a current study at four hospitals in Chicago, Selvaraj and fellow pediatricians are screening students for signs of toxic stress and unmet social needs such as food, housing, childcare, legal services and monthly bills. …

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