Welcome to my blog, which speaks to parents, professionals who work with children, and policy makers. Through stories from my behavioral pediatrics practice (with details changed to protect privacy) I will show how contemporary research in child development can be applied to support parents in their efforts to facilitate their children’s healthy emotional development. I will address factors that converge to obstruct such support. These include limited access to quality mental health care, influences of a powerful health insurance industry and intensive marketing efforts by the pharmaceutical industry.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Promoting children's healthy development: An inspirational poem

Below is a poem written and read by Chris Corrigan at the conclusion of a conference entitled "Applying the Science of Early Childhood Development to State Policy and Practice: a Case for Action and a Call for Innovation." The still face refers to Dr.Ed Tronick's paradigm that he articulates and demonstrates in this three minute video. The ACE in the poem refers to Adverse Childhood Events.

No more still face
a poetic harvest of the conference on science and early learning

by Chris Corrigan

November 4, 2010
Seattle, WA

Face it – relationships
language and emotion
700 synapses
babies are an ocean of potential for growth.
Reach out -
read and react
serve and return
the simplest skills for any parent to learn
ACEs are wild
don't poker face that child
ACEs are wild
don't poker face that child.

We need traction for action
no more funding for reactions
but positive interventions
systemic reinvention
health promotion and prevention
well placed intention.

Founders and funders
get this under your skin
When society is the still face
we create the ACE
When society is the still face
we create the ACE

So what do we do?

We partner early and often
And surely that softens
the hard blows of a cold world
a banner unfurled
a revolution of solutions
of iLabs and Head Start
exposure to the reading arts
bring parents together
to talk and train each other
raise kids in community
and pursue a unity of purpose
and hope and inspiration
for this nation can be
the demonstration project of population in relation
and information dissemination.

For a world of compassion
can fashion its future
synapse by synapse
and not relapse into a state
of comatose siloitis.

Because you know what?
We are the ACE
when society is the still face
we are the ACE
when society is the still face.

So let's get on the continuum
and at a minimum
shout out for Thrive by Five
Bring partnerships to life
Reach out and read
Everywhere plant seeds
Base policy on science
increase community self-reliance
reach parents where they are
at home and in their cars
at salons in Central Park
on the streets after dark
supporting healthy choices
hearing a diversity of voices.

Bring it to schools
deposit all the tools that every family needs
common methods that lead us
to children at the center
parents as mentors
resilience enters through doors
pried open by relationships
the community is the trajectory
the way to connectivity
caf├ęs and conversation and new forms of evaluation
spark the realization
that T.X.T 4 B.A.B
Educare, P3 and all the rest we see
is about relationality.

Fusion makes change
the core is rearranged
fusion makes change
the core is rearranged

So people in this State
we can no longer wait for fate to have its day
here are the ways
we get traction for action:

One science fits all

So tear down the walls
that keep parents from all
the riches that help them call
the future to their kids
open up learning, cultivate a yearning
for society's embrace

A bill of rights that rights political will
that allocates the resources to relationships

This is STILL public health – why the stealth
approach to early learning? Let's be turning
this science to common sense
and then let's invest this sense to finance a dense campaign
to build better brains
better babies
break the chains that hold us back
keep us from conceiving
of new tender maybes...

Because in every single case
There is only this to chase:

No more ACE
No more still face
No more ACE
No more still face
No more ACE
No more

still

face.


This poem offers a hopeful antidote to the depressing yet powerful Boston Globe piece about the SSI system that I wrote about in my previous post. That post concluded with the words "this piece demonstrates with disturbing clarity how much we need to intervene early to support parents and their young children, before they get to such a point of desperation that they are willing to label a child as disabled in order to survive." The website of the Harvard University Center on the Developing Child offers a wealth of information about why and how to intervene early to promote healthy development.

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