Hello Parents, Caregivers and Educators
A message from Stephen Lauer, MD, PhD, Associate Chair at Department of Pediatrics, University of Kansas Health System:
As I reflect on my medical training and career, the biggest shift I have seen is the move from controlling physical disease to promoting mental health. Pediatrics has been remarkably successful at curbing the ravages of infectious diseases, due in large part to the amazing success of vaccines and antibiotics. The decline of these acute diseases has allowed/forced us to shift to considering the behavioral and developmental aspects of child and adolescent health. In and of itself, this is a remarkable achievement but has uncovered the relative lack of training that occurs for most pediatricians in the area of mental health even to today’s medical school curriculum.
This is the healthiest time, physically, in recorded history to be a child. But we are in desperate need of tools to address mental health issues. The long-term effects on physical and mental health caused by Adverse Childhoold Events was not discussed in my training and gets minimal mention in today’s training. Yet, mitigating the effect of ACEs that have already occurred and, even more important reducing the level and severity of ACEs among today’s children/adolescents are the keys to improving the long-term health of our population.
This explains why I have been so enthusiastic about the use of Behavior Checker, an evidence-based tool designed to help parents navigate the challenges of normal childhood developmental in a way that will reduce the ACE score of their children. Along with vaccines, I believe that effective plans to reduce ACE scores in today’s children will have the most impactful effect on improving the long-term health of our children, tomorrow’s adults.
The importance of Behavior Checker is that it is a primary prevention tool; it aims to address the problem before it is a problem, and thus reduce the burden of mental and physical health on our society as a whole and our patients and families as individuals. I believe that this approach will allow for a better, brighter future for our children by teaching their parents how to effectively address the daily challenges of successfully raising children in today's stressful world.