This inaugural convening was produced in partnership with members of the Statewide Task Force on Preventing Prenatal Exposure to Alcohol and Other Drugs, led by Dr. Sara Park, Chief Medical Officer of the Comprehensive Medical and Dental Program with the Arizona Department of Child Safety, and managed by Prevent Child Abuse Arizona. The program focused on the identification, referral and treatment of infants and toddlers who have experienced Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and Trauma, or have been exposed to substances in utero. Over 400 professionals in the fields of early intervention, health, and social work, including nurses, pediatricians, behavioral health practitioners, social workers, and AZEIP professionals gathered to discuss standards of care of infants and toddlers.
After attending, one behavioral health provider said she now better understands that adverse childhood experiences could be causing the challenging behaviors that she sees, and that these behaviors are often misdiagnosed as disorders in children. “Trauma may be the underlying reason for behaviors and concerns that arise in my caseload, versus diagnoses like ADHD or autism spectrum,” she said.
Many participants said the convening re-affirmed the approach they take to their work. “I will continue applying the trauma-aware approach and provide compassionate, non-judgmental care to the families I serve,” said one participant. “I will listen to them and work to understand barriers and concerns from their perspective.”
After its inaugural success this year, ACE’s, Trauma, & Substance Exposure – Standards of Care for Infants and Toddlers may plan to host another event next year.