TIC Tip of the Month – October 2020

According to the Health Policy Institute of Ohio and the Office of Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, nearly half of all Ohio children have experienced one or more ACEs.  One in seven Ohio children have experienced three or more ACEs.  Think of an ACE (Adverse Childhood Experience) as a traumatic event or form of trauma.  Ohio ranks 37 in the nation on the percent of children who have been exposed to 2 or more ACEs.  Covid-19 is increasing the risk of ACEs due to an increase in family stressors and a decrease in family support.  Added family stress may result in increased mental health problems, substance abuse, and family conflict.  Families may experience caregiver job loss, reduced income, housing instability, food insecurity, social isolation due to staying at home, lack of structure/routine, illness of a family member, and disruptions to mental and physical health medical care.

Many changes have occurred to support Ohio children due to the Covid pandemic, including an extension for students who would have typically aged out of the foster care system at 18.

According to Dr. Kenneth Yeager (OSU), educators need to be aware of the following:

  1. When students have experienced trauma, they may have a lack of basic trust/safety, loss of emotional management, problems with cognition, communication problems, problems with authority, confused sense of justice, and an inability to grieve and anticipate the future.

  2. Having an ACE score of 4 increases the risk of suicide significantly.  Educators have an opportunity to watch for the signs and symptoms of suicide.

What can we do?  Support resilience! “Think of resilience as a seesaw or balance scale, where negative experiences tip the scale toward bad outcomes, and positive experiences tip it toward good outcomes.”  Help students and families reduce stress and pile on positive experiences, especially through positive relationships.  For more information, go to the following link from the Center on the Developing Child, Harvard University: https://developingchild.harvard.edu/resources/how-to-help-families-and-staff-build-resilience-during-the-covid-19-outbreak/

The Tip of the Month was obtained from a webinar hosted by the Health Policy Institute of Ohio (September 29, 2020).