Policy Resource

Blogging NTI: Friday’s Question of the Day

Dec 24, 2011

To get some feedback from the infant-toddler professionals attending NTI about what is important for policymakers to know, we’re asking the “Question of the Day”.

On Friday, the question was “If you could take your Congressional representative to one session at NTI, which one would it be and why?”

We anticipated a wide range of responses. After all, when we started marking sessions we wanted to cover in our blog, our NTI program ended up as a mass of yellow highlighting. But the ballots have been counted and, overwhelmingly, NTI attendees thought Dr. Vincent Felitti’s plenary speech on the Adverse Childhood Experiences (see previous post which summarized this speech) was the most important session a policymaker could have attended, as one responder said, “hands down!”

A sample of the comments:

From a Child Development Specialist from Indiana: “Adverse Child Experiences are a community health crisis that can be prevented if laws and policies better addressed child abuse and neglect.”

From a professor in Ohio: “I’d have treated him to lunch and the ‘ACE’ study presentation. Getting that information to Congress is the only way that changes will ever be made.”

A non-profit organization board member chose the ACE study: “1) Because this study makes it clear that the only real preventative measures for the vast majority of problems our country faces must be done ‘zero to three’ and 2) we are wasting money on the wrong solutions for problems like obesity, drug use and other health care problems.”

And our favorite, from a Director of Parent Resources in California: “Start with the ACE Study. Lock them in a room and make sure they get it!”

But one thoughtful respondent, a Parent Educator from Virginia, suggested a different approach to educating policymakers. “ I would introduce them to [a young man] an eleventh grader reading on a fifth grade level. A student who was retained in first grade and fifth grade. In 2010 [he] was diagnosed with a specific learning disability. [He] is 18 years old. He plays violin and guitar. His mother works for the same school system that left him behind. He still lives at home with his father, mother, and 16 year old brother who is in the 10th grade.” It is not only the experts who can get the point across. Sometimes it is the children whose potential was diminished because no one caught them falling behind at an early age.

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