Youth coalition free workshops offer childhood trauma training

Oak Harbor Youth Coalition hopes to facilitate some “lightbulb moments” on childhood trauma during upcoming training sessions.

“Sometimes a child will suddenly exhibit some kind of uncooperative behavior that seems random to us,” said Tara Hizon, community coalition coordinator. “Frequently, it’s been triggered by something that isn’t obvious.”

Starting at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Oak Harbor Senior Center, the coalition will host a free introduction to adverse childhood experiences, called ACES. Joe Neigel from the Monroe Community Coalition will give an overview what adverse experiences can look like and how they affect children’s development. That session will last about three hours.

“The ACES introduction, I think is essential information for everyone,” Hizon said.

A massive study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Kaiser Permanente found a number of negative outcomes in both behavioral and physical health are correlated with experiencing childhood trauma.

There are links between certain types of trauma and the adult onset of mental illness, violence, becoming a victim of violence as well as increased risk of heart disease and cancer.

“The science is really interesting and kind of scary,” Hizon said.

On Thursday, March 28 at the Oak Harbor School District office, a second, free, all-day workshop on responding to complex trauma will be held. Hizon said this more in-depth training session will benefit those who work with children, including parents, foster parents, health care providers and teachers.

Maurene Stanton, from North-west Educational Service District No. 189, leads the second workshop.

Hizon said the growing body of research on childhood trauma is changing how education and health care is delivered.

“People are starting to look at the big picture,” she said.

To register for the sessions, email to Tara Hizon at t.hizon@co.island.wa.us

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