Debra G. Leggett, Ph.D., LMHC, CETP, NCC, Chair and Associate Professor, College of Counseling, Psychology, and Social Sciences at Argosy University, Sarasota, recently spoke at Children’s First. Over 180 people attended the event for the nonprofit that offers free and reduced childcare to needy families in Sarasota.
Leggett presented on “Toxic Stress in early childhood,” which Harvard University’s Center on the Developing Child defines as “the body’s reaction after prolonged activation (strong, frequent adversity), which can disrupt brain development and other organ systems.”
She says that it’s known from previous research on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) that the impact of adverse experiences compounds with the amount of exposure that the child has. But children can learn to manage that trauma when it’s buffered by supportive relationships which help them to adapt and recover from the stressor.
Leggett adds that when children are exposed to toxic stress, the results can last well into the adult years. Children’s First works with preschool age children—a in important time for teachers and caregivers to learn to intervene in stressful situations, and refer those in particular need for further in-depth evaluation and services.
Argosy University, Sarasota is licensed by the Florida Commission for Independent Education, License No. 2610.