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NEAR Science - Beyond ACEs

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1) Participants will understand the key concepts of the nervous system and how it interrelates with experiences, both positive and negative, and how people adapt.

2) Participants will understand key components of the Adverse Childhood Experiences study and how to utilize the data to support communities.

3) Participants will become familiar with core protective systems and the importance of communities and support.

N stands for neurobiology. Neurobiology helps us understand how our brain developed based on experience. The training explores various functions of the brain like memory, sensory regulation, and executive functioning that are impacted by toxic stress, adversity and trauma.

E represents epigenetics. Epigenetics, in a sense, rediscovered or scientifically affirmed that individual and collective trauma can be passed down from generation to generation.

A stands for the ACEs study which scientifically linked early childhood adversity and adult health.

R is for resilience of a community, a family or an individual. Knowledge about resilience lets us know which buffering variables can reverse, prevent, and heal the impact of adversity.

These four sciences are intended to broaden our understanding of people and their behaviors.

It begins with an understanding of the neurobiology of the brain and how we are wired for survival.  If our brain detects a real or perceived threat, it reacts using the mid-brain or brainstem.  When either of these parts of the brain is activated, the pre-frontal cortex, or thinking part of the brain, cannot fully function. This means people experiencing toxic stress or adversity cannot fully access the part of their brain responsible for working memory, self-control, prioritization, predicting consequences, planning or decision making.  If children experience routine toxic stress, the neural networks in the pre-frontal cortex may not even develop well. This science tells us that we need to build regulation skills in people with a history of trauma so they can access their pre-frontal cortex and then strengthen processing skills.

Epigenetics research has shown that trauma can be passed down through generations.  The science explains how certain genes may or may not be expressed due to the experiences of our predecessors.  This knowledge combined with ACEs allows people to have a better understanding of the risk factors related to trauma.  However, risk factors are not predictive factors due to protective factors.  The training explores evidence-based Interventions that can restore, repair and reverse the negative impacts of trauma.  These interventions are strategies and tools we can all use with all people to create physically and emotionally safe environments, healthy attachments or connection, and strengthen skills so individuals, families and communities can meet their full potential and thrive.

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