The Impact of Toxic Stress on Infants and Toddlers

Dr. Arturo Brito, Executive Director of the Nicholson Foundation, and Steve Adubato explore the importance of positive experiences from birth to three, the impact toxic stressors can have on a child, and how the state is working to improve the black infant mortality rate in New Jersey.

10/13/18 #3125






"Once again, we welcome our good friend, Doctor Arturo Brito, Executive Director of The Nicholson Foundation. Good to see you Doctor. Good to see you Steve. Thanks. We've been at this for less than a year. I can't even believe it. Our initiative called Right From the Start NJ, you'll be seeing the website up throughout the entire segment, that website has been made possible in large part because of your foundation. We've been working with the Turrell Fund and others on this initiative called Right From the Start. Right From the Start means? Well Right From the Start means that we really need to be focused on those first few years of life. Of birth, and technically prenatally, up until at least the first three years of life. Because they're so critical to, not only the child at that time, but there can be lifelong consequences for that child if we don't do a better job of making sure that every child in the state of New Jersey has the potential to grow to his or her ability. Doctor, let's make it clear so people understand. Your interest in this is not simply because you're the head, the executive director, excuse me, the executive director of the Nicholson Foundation. Your clinical background is? I'm a pediatrician. I'm a pediatrician, and in my entire clinical practice professionally, there's one thing I found consistent with every single parent I saw, regardless of what background, regardless of what culture, regardless of what socio-economic circumstance they were in, is that every parent wants their child to grow and develop to his or her potential. And that's why we focus on those first few years of life. Talk about this... by the way if you go on the website, you're gonna see a whole range of articles and clips from previous segments, part of this ongoing series called Right From the Start NJ, that we're doing, and will continue to be doing. There's something called, and I've heard you talk about this in different seminars we've had. Yeah. Toxic stressors? Yeah. What are they? Yeah. So toxic stressors refers to those stressors that can be persistent, that can be chronic, and could be severe in anyone, but particularly in children. Examples include exposure to domestic violence, physical abuse, exposure to crime in the neighborhood, and even outright neglect of the needs of that child. Is poverty included? Extreme poverty that is persistent over long periods of time is absolutely included. It's one of those stressors that can become toxic. How? I just... the word "toxic" and stress... the first time I heard it..."