Summary of Can People Be Saved from a Terrible Childhood?

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Can People Be Saved from a Terrible Childhood? summary
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Sabrina Bugget-Kellum had recently taken custody of her grandchildren when she heard about Attachment and Biobehavioral Catch-up (ABC), a program designed to help caregivers meet the needs of children who had experienced trauma. Sabrina’s grandchildren fitted that description, as their father was incarcerated and their mother was unstable. ABC gave her the training that enabled her to move forward with confidence, and she now works as a parent coach for the program. Writing for The Guardian, Lauren Zanolli reports how organizations across  the United States are taking an intergenerational approach to break cycles of trauma and abuse.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How chronic stress in childhood influences later health and behavior,
  • Why an intergenerational and cross-sectoral approach is necessary to help children who’ve experienced adverse events, and
  •  How organizations are attempting to stop repeated cycles of abuse and trauma.
 

About the Author

Lauren Zanolli is a freelance writer based in New Orleans, where she reports on environmental issues, cyber security, health care and politics.

 

Summary

“Adverse childhood experiences” (ACEs) include events like “physical, sexual or emotional abuse; neglect, domestic violence, household substance abuse or mental illness; or divorce, parental separation or incarceration.” Such events generate chronically elevated cortisol levels, that is, “toxic stress” that can lead to genetic changes, a weakened immune system and alterations in brain function. The survivors of traumatic childhood events often exhibit poor health and behavioral and emotional outcomes. When these children reach adulthood, they’re more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol, engage in criminal activity, and have trouble maintaining employment. They’re also more likely to expose their own children to adverse childhood experiences. Thus, the cycle perpetuates. Childhood trauma appears to be the source of many of society’s most intractable problems.


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