Orlando: As "childhood toxic events rise," we must address the damage from parents

Mar 23, 2018, Orlando Sentinel: Let's make life better for kids: No more trauma Never has it been more important to focus on creating a more trauma-informed culture in Central Florida than now. … Each day hundreds of children in our community experience what are known as ACEs, or adverse childhood experiences. These toxic stress events can be triggered by domestic violence, child abuse, sexual molestation, loss of a parent through death or divorce, opioid overdose or any severely traumatic event that affects early brain and neurological development. But the wounds go deeper. As the number of childhood toxic events rise, so does the risk of school failure, mental illness, incarceration, drug addiction and death. Lifespans can be cut short as much as 20 years. … But there is hope. Together we can create a more trauma-informed community. One adult at a time, one child at a time, one pre-kindergarten center or school at a time. We can learn about ACEs. We can screen for ACEs. And we can create more opportunities for resilience and community bonding. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has listed ACEs as a top priority in violence prevention on its website. … … It will take all agencies, government leaders, nonprofits and citizens to make a difference over a sustained period of time. But it will be worth it. Take the ACEs test and watch the film “Resilience.” Let’s work together and begin to change our world in Orlando, starting today. Now that you know, you, too, must get involved. Kevin Sherin, M.D., is the health officer for the Florida Department of Health in Orange County.