For more information about ACEs or the ACEs Summit visit AFMC – ACEs


Michelle Rupp: Hello and welcome into this week’s edition of AFMC TV. I’m your host Michelle Rupp. So, are you familiar with the term adverse childhood experiences? Do you know what that means? Well here today to talk about adverse childhood experiences, or ACEs, is AFMC’s Dr. Chad Rogers. Hi Dr. Chad.

Dr. Chad Rodgers: Hey, how are you doing?

MR: I’m great, how are you today?

CR: Good.

MR: Okay adverse childhood experiences. That is kind of becoming a buzzword. We’re hearing it a lot more in mainstream media. So, let’s just level set and talk about what those are. What are we referring to when we hear that terminology?

CR: Right. So, ACEs are not like particularly anything new now the terminology has become like you said much more well known. It’s something that is a patrician you know I see every day and then I see we’ve all seen the long-term consequences and many of us have lived those consequences and lived through adverse childhood experiences but we’re beginning to talk more about the terms. And so, when you think about adverse child experiences you’ll often hear people talk about trauma but then people think about like a broken bone or a busted head and this is really it is physical trauma because that can be traumatic to have a broken arm obviously because it hurts and you have to go to hospital that kind of stuff. But there’s other sorts of trauma like child abuse and neglect like you would sort of traditionally think but there’s also a lot of things that are very traumatic to Children at very particular points in their life, especially when they’re developing a lot and they’re needing to form secure attachment with adults who provide that safe environment for them to grow and develop in. And there are things like print, mental illness may be or who are their caregiver is parental drug use. Maybe they have been separated from a parent they really care about because that parent has gone to prison or maybe they’re the parents have divorced, and they just don’t get to see their mother or father as much as they could to create that kind of stable nurturing environment that kids need to grow up in so that they grow up to be healthy adults. And we do know from long term studies that not only does it have sort of impact on your mental health, but it definitely has impact on your physical health. So, things like diabetes, cancer, drug use, all those things can sometimes many times be traced back to those experiences that you had during early childhood.

MR: Could some of those experiences manifest itself in acting out in school or on the playground or beating up other kids or being a bully maybe on the playground.

CR: That’s something that we often see very immediately. That’s what we see in our schools right now. We see it in our homes, and we see it, you know, in the pediatric office. So, a lot of times when kids are traumatized, they’re, what you might say, they’re very activated. So, we all have this instinct to survive. Right? And so, we’ve all had that how fight or flight. So, we’ve all had that that thing where we’ve been scared, and our heart rate goes up and we get too sweaty and we kind of get out of our thinking brain and we react. And so, when you see a child behaving badly, it’s maybe because they’re having a bad day or a bad week or maybe they had an entire just bad life, unfortunately altogether. So, they’re kind of reacting in this survival mode and there’s nobody there to kind of help them regulate those emotions, bring them down, teach them behaviors that are more appropriate to respond to stress and that they grow up, you know, sort of as an adult because we’ve all seen adults have temper tantrums too. So do you learn those things as adults so that you can control your own behavior and own thoughts and respond and sort of what we would think of a more typical way.

MR: In addition to having something in the home life, a parent that’s not around for whatever reason. There are other factors too, that are environmental factors such as food insecurities, I would think would be one of them.

CR: So, when of course we know that Arkansas has one the highest rates of food insecurity. So, people may not be without food all the time, but there’s times during the month, particularly towards the end of the month, when, you know, the paycheck hasn’t come in or whatever your financial supports aren’t there to provide the food that you need for you and your family so far, food insecurity is one. Housing is a big issue, just having poor housing or even unhealthy housing, there’s a lot of holes in the roofs around Arkansas, a lot of holes in the floor, so they’re not always, you know what we would consider habitable of course, then you have things like mold and cockroaches and stuff that make people ill, but there’s many other factors, you know, just having a parent that doesn’t have a steady income, I mean, you know, so maybe even homeless at times, so those things all kind of can be very traumatic to a child into an adult. I mean we lived through it too.

MR: So, AFMC kind of answers that call a little bit with our ACEs Summit. So, talk about the summit because it’s coming up. Yeah, and this is actually our sixth year to year to do it, which is really amazing. So, we really created this summit to be an opportunity to bring people who work together in many areas that are impacted by Aces or where Aces may occur even, and then things that we can all think to do to do, to build what we call resilience. So, you know resilience is a really important factor for Children to kind of counteract those adverse childhood experiences. So, we have put together this conference kind of focusing a lot. We get a lot of quest from educators because of course they see it every day and they’re on the front line and they have to deal with it, health care providers, mental health providers, people who are you know police officers, people are in the judicial system, people who work with kids in the foster care system. So, a lot of people at many points in our, in our community that work to address these, the, the impact of these experiences, but also you know dick Create a better environment for kids. So, we want to bring them all together and it’s sort of, this is not like a 1, you know, I always say one pill that’s the doctor to fix the problem. It’s not a 1 shot fix. So, it has many levels in order to address that. So, it requires a lot of people be involved from a lot of different segments of our community to come together and talk about these things.

MR: What are some of the things that attendees might learn?

CR: Right. So, we have pretty exciting lineup. We’re doing really more of a series since we are staying virtual this year just um, so that more people can attend, and they can attend from their home or their office. So we have a speaker. Derek Clark who’s coming, He’s a nationally known speaker who actually lived through quite a bit of trauma and kind of one of these people who kind of rose above, but he really talks about a lot of, you know, ways in which we can build resilience in our Children’s and so his topic is thinking negatively and expecting positive results from kids. So, we can’t have negative thoughts about kids thinking that kids a bad kid and expect that kid to be a good kid. And we have to instill that, you know, that thought of goodness in them. And he’s a really great speaker. He’s also known as the Rapping Dad if you’re on Facebook, so you can kind of go out here. So, he’s kind of a fun and interesting speaker, but we also have people from the judicial system, from the education system, people who work with foster families and work in the foster care system. So, over the that five-week period will have speakers on various topics around those. And we really want to focus on now that we’re coming out of the pandemic where a lot of traditional social set. We’re lost like school and food and housing, financial, loss for a lot of families. So, what do we do now? We’ve kind of lost a year or two. We’re playing catch up and what do we do going moving forward. So that’s sort of our theme for this conference is kind of moving forward and how do we sort of rebuild what we lost, regain what we’ve lost and what we do for the future.

MR: You know, you make a good point as it relates to the pandemic because you could there could be a situation where it’s a stable family unit, but because mom and dad both lost their livelihood then then you might see food insecurities or deterioration of housing and that is so impactful on Children and so um I would suspect there’s a lot of valuable information this time around.

CR: We think it’s going to be a really great conference.

MR: Yeah. Is there a specific day and time or is it kind of mixed throughout?

CR: Right. It’s a little bit mixed. Most of the, most of the meetings occur virtually at noon on Thursdays in the month of September there’s one evening that sort of allows for parents to attend since you know are busy working or they may have childcare issues. So that one is more in the evening. But if you go to the AFMC website you can see when the schedule is and what the topics are. You can also, for attendees it can’t protect, maybe they can’t be there on September 8th at noon, they can go back later and watch the presentation. So as an attendee you’ll have access to those presentations.

MR: And is there a charge to attend?

CR: There is a small charge just going to help support the ACEs work and get the speakers there and all the things that go into organizing a conference. So, it’s a $35 fee to attend and it’s kind of a one price fits all. You can attend all of them, you might attend one or two I think each one has that value to it. So, if you just are only able to attend one it’s a good value and some good information.

MR: That’s great and you get the replay in the event you have to miss.

CR: Right.

MR: That’s great. Alright, Dr. Chad anything else we need to know?

CR: I think the main thing is just you know think about your own self and sort of how these things impact you and take good care of yourself so that you can take care of others around you and so that’s sort of the whole theme of building resilience in yourself but also with others.

MR: Good deal. Alright, Dr. Chad thank you so much.

CR: All right, thank you.