Resilience

Resilience ★★★½

The child may not remember, but the body remembers


It’s not what’s wrong with you, it’s what happened to you?


I currently work in a classroom with extreme behavioral and emotional disorders. I attended a showing of this documentary as part of a professional development opportunity. I always take the chance to further my own education and this film seemed like it might be beneficial.
Resilience is the 2nd documentary that James Redford and Karen Pritzker collaborated together in dealing with the science of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). The first installment, Paper Tigers followed the lives of five students at Lincoln High School, an alternative school that specializes in educating traumatized youth. Resilience takes a different approach with the new ACEs movement and dives into how to treat and prevent "toxic stress" in children. It also shows how helping the parents of the children will possibly stop the cycle of trauma and stress among the youth affected.
The documentary goes right into how "toxic stress" coincides with being at greater risk for heart disease, obesity, depression, drug/alcohol dependacy, teenage pregnancy and even a shorter life span. A questionaire is given throughout the film that consists of 10-item self-report measure about "traumas" they may have experienced in their life. This will determine their ACEs score, those with a score of 3 or higher are those that pertain to that "greater risk" group. The documentary mostly focuses on poverty or lower-income communities but continually says that no population/region is immune.
The most intriguing part of the film came from the stories and passion of those invovled at the beginning of the movment. The true pioneers of ACEs in pediatrics, education, psychology and social welfare and how they are using innovative therapies to help not only the children but the whole family. Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, a brilliant and caring pediatrician, is the face of hope to a whole community filled of children and adults that have "toxic stress" everyday. She assists in giving the tools needed to get the answers required to start the process of healing/coping for her patients. Dr. Burke Harris seems invested in finding every childs underlying problem(s) in order to get to the right solution. I found her presence in this film to be a true highlight and will follow up on her research soon.
Parts of this film were extremely helpful, in the sense that it validated a lot of what I already know about the children I see everyday. Bad behavior, emotional outbursts, completely withdrawn and those children who just to never quite catch a break are all usually 3 or more on the ACEs scale. What I do with that knowledge everyday is I help them deal with that "impulse control", "toxic stress" and even ask the hard questions like "what happened to you?" and "what can I do to help you?".
I do not believe ACEs is an ideal "movement" for all schools to adopt. I do feel like parts of it could be useful in a community setting and small class instruction for those on the scale.

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