Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.

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45th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2019

Event Details

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Invited Paper Session #132
CE Offered: PSY/BACB/NASP

Consequences of Violence and Neglect in Children: The Risks of Neurobiological and Psychological Impairments

Saturday, May 25, 2019
5:00 PM–5:50 PM
Swissôtel, Event Center Second Floor, St. Gallen 1-3
Area: CBM; Domain: Service Delivery
Instruction Level: Intermediate
CE Instructor: Willy-Tore Morch, Ph.D.
Chair: Jeannie A. Golden (East Carolina University)
WILLY-TORE MORCH (The Arctic University of Norway, Tromsø)
Small children who live in long-lasting stress and anxiety, whether they be victims within their own homes or refugees suffering on a more global level, develop neurobiological impairments. The brain is plastic and “user dependent”. A child is born with 100 billion nerve cells, but only 15% are connected to other cells. During the first three years, 250.000 new connections are performed per hour in the child’s brain. The architects are the genes, but the constructors are the parents and the child’s social network. Positive experiences stimulate the myelination process in the cells axons and the myelin sheets increase the velocity of the nerve impulse. Long-lasting stress and anxiety reduces the myelination process and influences brain activity. Four brain structures are important for the brain’s reactions to stress and anxiety. The presenter will discuss the specific impacts that stress and anxiety have on each of these brain structures and the ensuing affect they have on the child’s development of crucial abilities necessary to successfully navigate the world. It is of great importance that sources of stress and anxiety, e.g. violence, abuse and neglect, but also war- and refugee experiences are quickly brought to an end. The role of child protection agencies, either by parent training interventions or by taking the child out of the family, is crucial. Likewise, the reception and caretaking of refugee children preventing neurobiological impairments will have life-long consequences for these children’s schooling, education, employment and mental health. The presenter will also briefly highlight parenting strategies and therapeutic interventions that can help to reduce the risk for these vulnerable children.
Abstract:

Small children who live in long-lasting stress and anxiety, whether they be victims within their own homes or refugees suffering on a more global level, develop neurobiological impairments. The brain is plastic and “user dependent”. A child is born with 100 billion nerve cells, but only 15% are connected to other cells. During the first three years, 250.000 new connections are performed per hour in the child’s brain. The architects are the genes, but the constructors are the parents and the child’s social network. Positive experiences stimulate the myelination process in the cells axons and the myelin sheets increase the velocity of the nerve impulse. Long-lasting stress and anxiety reduces the myelination process and influences brain activity. Four brain structures are important for the brain’s reactions to stress and anxiety. The presenter will discuss the specific impacts that stress and anxiety have on each of these brain structures and the ensuing affect they have on the child’s development of crucial abilities necessary to successfully navigate the world. It is of great importance that sources of stress and anxiety, e.g. violence, abuse and neglect, but also war- and refugee experiences are quickly brought to an end. The role of child protection agencies, either by parent training interventions or by taking the child out of the family, is crucial. Likewise, the reception and caretaking of refugee children preventing neurobiological impairments will have life-long consequences for these children’s schooling, education, employment and mental health. The presenter will also briefly highlight parenting strategies and therapeutic interventions that can help to reduce the risk for these vulnerable children.

Target Audience:

Board certified behavior analysts; licensed psychologists; social workers; graduate students.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) discuss the user dependent brain; (2) understand the effects of long-lasting stress and anxiety experiences in the brain; (3) discuss parent training.
 

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