The Stressed Out Brain
Behaviour is communication and above all else, behaviour gives us insight into how a child is coping with stress and stressors. Stress is defined as anything that requires a large amount of energy to get us back to our baseline. With this definition we are asked to focus on the amount of energy it takes to deal with a stressor. Stress occurs within 6 different domains - biological, emotion, cognitive, social, pro-social and environmental. Children's brains are developing throughout childhood and adolescence, and these experiences can be a strong influence on how their brains become wired. Our work with children has to be focused on decreasing the stress the child is experiencing and providing them with experiences of safety, rest and recovery through our relationship. In this interactive presentation, participants will be challenged to view all behaviour through the lens of threat and safety. Discussion and teaching will focus on the neurobiological experiences of stress for children. This includes how the brain responds to a stressor, the stress response, and how the body experiences stress using the 6 domains of stress. Safety is a brain response that quiets the stress alarm and provides opportunities for rest and recovery. Experiences of safety are a major role of the Child Life Specialist. This presentation will discuss how to include this understanding in practice through the development of a relationship between the CLS and the child and family.
Suggested Domain: Assessment
1. To provide a neurobiological understanding of how stress is experienced within childhood.
2. To provide an understanding of how trauma and traumatic events affects brain development and coping.
3. To provide an understanding of how to support children with extreme stress in practice through relationship that supports a sense of safety for the child.
Thank you to our generous sponsor of this webinar, the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
B.A., BScN, MSc, EdD (c), CCLS, RN
CIndy has 23 years experience working with children and families in a therapeutic role to assist with coping, growth and development, and supporting mental well-being. Cindy is a Certified Child Life Specialist and a Registered Nurse. Cindy holds a Master's of Science in Child Life and Pediatric Psychosocial Care from McMaster University and is currently working towards a Doctorate degree from University of Toronto in Child Study and Education. Cindy is a Public Health Nurse at Toronto Public Health within the child health and development division. Cindy also has a private practice acting as a consultant and parenting educator. And above all of this, Cindy is the mother to three wonderful and perfectly, imperfect children who inspire her on a daily basis to be the best person she can be.
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