Though the impacts of toxic stress and Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) can be overwhelming, Dr. Bruce Perry of the Child Trauma Academy gave an inspiring and informative talk in Cleveland on May 15 on the effects of such trauma, and ways to build and empower a trauma informed community.
Though I have participated in many conversations on ACEs over the last few months, Dr. Perry’s presentation highlighted The Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics (NMT), something new to me.
The NMT is a neuroscience-informed, developmentally-sensitive, approach to the clinical problem solving process…It is an approach that integrates core principles of neurodevelopment and traumatology to inform work with children, families and the communities in which they live.
As described by Dr. Perry, “The NMT is a neuroscience-informed, developmentally-sensitive, approach to the clinical problem solving process…It is an approach that integrates core principles of neurodevelopment and traumatology to inform work with children, families and the communities in which they live.”New clinical approach to combat the toxic stress of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) @BrieLusheck explains Click To Tweet
This model of working with individuals who have experienced trauma allows experts to create an individualized approach based on a person’s specific life experiences, possibly succeeding where traditional “one size fits all” models have failed. The model focuses on the most basic parts of the brain (starting with the brainstem as seen below) then after the most basic parts have been fully developed, shifts attention and therapeutic responses to the more complex parts of the brain (working up from the brainstem to the cortex), NMT meets each individual where they are, and where their development has been impaired by trauma. This model is used to inform our understanding of the brain’s development and how toxic stress and the de-regulation caused by trauma can impact a child’s behavior and health for the rest of their lives.
There are three crucial parts to working the NMT:
- Training and capacity building: Introduces practitioners to the fundamental workings of how a child’s development is impacted by trauma.
- Assessment: The NMT “Mapping Process” is when a “Functional Brain Map” is developed by practitioners to identify an individual’s developmental and relational issues, to inform the best intercessions and tools to assist an individual in crisis.
- Finally, specific recommendations are made: These recommendations drive the selection and sequencing of therapeutic, educational and enrichment activities that match the needs and strengths of the individual.
The NMT is an evidence-based practice that is used by practitioners to inform their work with children who have suffered adverse experiences throughout Ohio, like those at Positive Education Program (PEP) who hosted Dr. Perry at the Cleveland event. Knowing the importance of the development of the brain is key to treating trauma in an individual and in a community.
The quote by W.R. Inge, “The best time to influence the character of a child is 100 years before they are born,” leaves us at The Center for Community Solutions with the continued drive to focus on the impact of ACEs, to inform our goals of bettering the health, safety and wellbeing of individuals in our community for now and generations to come.