5 things to know about childhood trauma

Dec 5, 2014
leeroy09481 / flickr

To educate our readers and avoid being redundant, we're creating a series of "explainer" posts on the topics we refer to a lot. This is one of them.

Eva Petoskey

Suicide is a major public health problem for American Indians. The suicide rate for American Indian teenagers in particular is 2.5 times higher than the national average. I took a trip over the summer to the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians Reservation in Suttons Bay to talk with folks in the community about the issue.

When I visited the reservation, it was rainy, no sun in sight, but that didn't stop a couple thousand people from making the trek to the reservation for the annual powwow. The Anishinaabe word is "Jiingtamok." 

Turns out you can tell a lot about an infant's socioeconomic background based on what he eats. "The tentacles of income inequality find their way into many different aspects of life, and food is a particularly apt example," writes Washington Post reporter Roberto Ferdman. New research shows that babies who eat lots of foods high in sugar and fat come from poorer, less educated households compared to babies whose parents follow suggested infant feeding guidelines. Not only can these high fat/sugar foods impact a child's growth, but research indicates it can also "negatively impact a child's long-term health, eating habits, and food preferences."

Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

Organizers of the Get the Lead Out program in Grand Rapids are trying right now to get the word out for people to apply for assistance with lead removal in their homes.

As we’ve reported before on State of Opportunity, lead is one of the most dangerous chemicals in the environment affecting young children.

In Grand Rapids, the funds for lead removal may soon dry up. And the push is on to fix as many homes as possible before that happens.

I walk up the driveway next to a yellow house on the southeast side of Grand Rapids. Next door, a dog barks. At the yellow house, a man stands on a ladder, cutting away some vinyl trim. His work area is marked off with an ominous stretch of red tape. The dog and I are on the other side of it.

"Am I allowed to come on this side?" I ask.

"No, you’re not," the man says.

User: Guillermo Ossa / Stockvault

Here's the dilemma: You are one of the many American parents with a kid in day care. The kid gets a sniffle or a cold. The day care calls you to take them home. You have to take a sick day. And now, you have to get a doctor's note just to get your kid back into day care. 

The need for that note is sending a lot of parents to the emergency room or urgent care unnecessarily, says Dr. Andrew Hashikawa, an emergency doctor at the University of Michigan. And those barely sick kids? There's no need to keep them out of day care.

Photo courtesy of Joseph Gone

Times are incredibly tough for Native American children. Poverty, unemployment and abuse are just some of the issues plaguing the nation's tribes, according to a recent article in the Washington Post. Here's an excerpt:

Growing up in poverty and pollution

Apr 24, 2014
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

In Michigan, thousands of kids suffer with diseases that are worsened by poverty and pollution. It's a combination that's costing society far more than most people know. 

What issues do health experts think are causing these problems? Why haven't policy-makers come up with the money to fix these problems? What is the price of allowing these problems go ignored? We'll answer these questions in this hour long documentary, Growing Up in Poverty and Pollution. 

New documentary on growing up in poverty and pollution

Apr 21, 2014
abandoned toy in dump
Geraint Rowland / Flickr

Reports about pollution and environmental degradation can easily seem like something that happens somewhere else.

And when the impact isn't visible on the surface, the health effects can go unchecked and be devastating for children.

In a new State of Opportunity documentary airing this Thursday, Michigan Radio's Lester Graham, looks at the impact of environmental pollution on children who live in poverty. 

Childhood trauma knows no geographical boundaries

Feb 11, 2014
Freedom House / Flickr

Monday's Morning Edition broadcast featured an interview with 23-year-old Amina Salwan, a survivor of chemical attacks in Syria. In her conversation with Steve Inskeep she described the gassing incident that impacted her area and neighbors. But what was also striking was her description of working with traumatized children of the civil war. 

What's this about car seats and race?

Jan 13, 2014
 A baby cries in a carseat
Jolie / Flickr

A new study about race and car seat safety was released today.

Since the press release came out, there's been more focus on race and less on safety. 

Not surprising, really. To most of us race is more interesting and certainly more controversial than car seats. To play into this reality, the press release announcing the study has the title,"White parents more likely to use age-appropriate car seats than non-whites."