Showing posts from February, 2012

Home Visiting Helps Combat Effects of Toxic Stress in Young Children

Guest blog by Diana Rauner, President, Ounce of Prevention Fund & Gaylord Gieseke, Vice President, Voices for Illinois Children  The number of children at risk for the short and long-term effects of toxic childhood stress is growing dramatically. This was the dismal news highlighted in a policy statement released last month by the American Academy of Pediatrics and in a recent op-ed from New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof. Both cite new research that demonstrates that the cumulative effects of growing up in environments replete with violence, parental depression, chaos and other uncertainties can literally alter the healthy, normal development of a young child’s brain. These stressors can impede a child’s capacity to “power down” from the fight or flight reflex, which reduces his ability to manage his temper and emotions or show empathy to others. It can also lead to later drug and alcohol use, obesity, heart disease and even early death. But it doesn’t have to be that w