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OTS 137: Trauma-Informed OT with Adolescents


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Welcome to the show notes for Episode 137 of the OT Schoolhouse Podcast.



Are you aware of the hidden traumas that adolescents face daily, that can sometimes go unnoticed?


In this episode Dr. Park sheds light on the subtle negative experiences that may go unnoticed but have a long-term impact on these young lives. The discussion also takes us beyond traditional understandings of trauma to recognize the broader spectrum that encompasses a sense of not belonging and exclusion due to identity-based micro aggressions.


Join us as we uncover the impact of trauma on adolescents, discuss the importance of inclusive education, and foster a greater understanding of how OTPs can support those dealing with trauma in meaningful ways.



Listen now to learn the following objectives:


  • Learners will gain an understanding of the different types of trauma experienced by adolescents and how these experiences impact their daily lives.


  • Learners will explore practical strategies to create trauma-informed classrooms and inclusive environments that promote healing, growth, and resilience.


  • Learners will develop a toolkit of evidence-based interventions and approaches that can be used to address the effects of trauma in school-based settings.



Guest Bio


Dr. Karen Park has extensive experience in pediatric practice in a variety of service settings including early intervention, clinic, school, hospital and outpatient children’s mental health.


She is Board Certified in Pediatrics by the American Occupational Therapy Association and holds Advanced Practice certification in swallowing assessment, evaluation and intervention in California.


Prior to joining the faculty at the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences, Dr. Park was an assistant professor of clinical occupational therapy and the director of academic fieldwork education at the University of Southern California (USC), Chan Division of Occupational Science and Therapy.


Her expertise in fieldwork education focuses on role-emerging fieldwork experiences in children’s mental health settings; specifically mentoring occupational therapy (OT) students in identifying and establishing the role of OT in addressing the occupational needs of underserved children and families with a history of complex trauma.


Dr. Park has lectured nationally and internationally on topics around interdisciplinary approaches to feeding assessment and intervention, the intersection of trauma and mental health factors on mealtime engagement and enjoyment, healthy weight for children with special healthcare needs, as well as developing and sustaining role-emerging experiences.



Quotes


“Psychological safety really paves the way for belonging."

— Karen Park, OTD, OTR/L


“Every experience positive and negative is going to change the trajectory of that brain development slightly.”

— Karen Park, OTD, OTR/L


“We want cortisol, to help us respond to stress, that's a good thing. But when we have children that are experiencing…ongoing, traumatic experiences, what happens with the HPA axis, is that the cortisol is being consistently released over and over. And that can create a sense of hyper vigilance for our kids.”

— Karen Park, OTD, OTR/L


“We want to have some awareness of the issues in the world that may be impacting our students and the pain and the grief that they may be carrying, so that we don't ask them to leave their humanity at the door.”

— Karen Park, OTD, OTR/L


“It just makes it a little bit more real sometimes to better understand how the brain is processing, the trauma and how the limbic system is working, and how the HPA is all working.”

— Jayson Davies, MA, OTR/L



Resources




















Episode Transcript

Expand to view the full episode transcript.

Jayson Davies   

Hey there and welcome back to the OT schoolhouse podcast your go to source for all things related to school based occupational therapy. I'm your host Jayson Davies. And I'm thrilled to introduce our guests for today's episode, Dr. Karen Park, an occupational therapist with a specialization in trauma and its impact on adolescents. Trauma is an area of growing interest within our field, especially as more students are sharing their experiences of adversity and trauma. And despite the assumptions that many have, trauma doesn't just occur in the homes of our students. trauma can be experienced and manifested anywhere schools included. That's why in today's episode, Dr. Park provides us with invaluable insights into how experienced trauma impacts adolescents, and what we as school based occupational therapy practitioners can do to support them. Dr. Park is currently the doctoral coordinator at the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences, and she has an extensive background in working with trauma in different populations. She even just recently completed a chapter on adolescents and adolescent development for a soon to be released OT textbook, so you can bet that her experience will undoubtedly enrich our understanding of trauma informed care. You and I know firsthand how difficult that teenage years can be. As such, I'm sure you will appreciate the concept of emerging adulthood that Dr. Park shares, highlighting the unique challenges and opportunities that this transitional period presents. Now let's quickly review our three learning objectives for this episode. First, we're going to gain an understanding of the different types of trauma experienced by adolescents, and how these experiences impact their daily lives. Second, we'll explore the practical strategies to create trauma informed classrooms and inclusive environments that promote healing, growth and resilience. And finally, we hope that this conversation will help you to develop a toolkit of evidence based interventions and approaches that can be used to address the effects of trauma in the school based setting. If you're a school based OT practitioner looking to expand your knowledge and enhance your trauma informed practice, especially in the middle and high school settings. This episode is a must listen, Dr. Parks experience will empower you to better support the students that you serve, and to help create environments where they can thrive. So sit back, keep your eyes on the road if you're driving to your next school, and enjoy this episode with Dr. Karen Park. 

 

Amazing Narrator   

Hello, and welcome to the OT schoolhouse podcast, your source for school based occupational therapy tips, interviews and professional development. Now to get the conversation started. Here's your host, Jayson Davies, class is officially in session. 

 

Jayson Davies   

Dr. Park, welcome to the OT schoolhouse podcast. How are you doing today?  

 

Karen Park   

Thanks, Jayson. It's really nice to be here. Thank you for having me.  

 

Jayson Davies   

Yeah, I'm excited to have you here. We're gonna be talking a lot about trauma and aces. And we'll get deeper into aces in just a moment. But I'm really excited to have you on I know you. You are in that Professor role now. And director I think it's doctoral coordinator over at the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences. And you work a lot with that college age student. Now, however, I know what we're going to be talking about today can also be somewhat relevant to maybe some of those students who are in high school and going through adolescence, we're in a transition type of program. So I'm just excited to talk to you today and talk a little bit about trauma aces and how we can overcome that. So yeah, thank you so much for being here.  

 

Karen Park   

Thank you. I'm really excited to this is one of my favorite topics to talk about.  

 

Jayson Davies   

Awesome. Well, before we dive into all of that fun stuff, I just want to give you a just a moment to kind of share where you are in your occupational therapy profession right now.  

 

Karen Park   

Yeah, so I'm currently a doctoral Capstone coordinator and assistant professor at the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences. I'm on the San Marcos California campus. So our West Coast campus. And I in this role, I support doctoral students in their capstone process as they work through their projects. And also, I've been doing some mentorship related to kind of understanding the experience of trauma. So a lot of the students that may be focused on children with experience of trauma and their background or history, you know, mentoring the students to really understand kind of the complex, holistic experience that children and youth may experience. And so really focusing on helping supporting them understand that, that process and to be able to obviously create programs or conduct research in a way that's really going to be supporting the population.  

 

Jayson Davies   

Wow, that's a very, that's a very unique like position to be and not just, you know, the larger the broader aspect of doctoral coordinator, but also really honing in on that trauma for not trauma for the students necessarily, but kind of overseeing that area a little bit. So, does that mean that there are quite a few students that are looking more into trauma, whether it be school aged students or otherwise? 

 

Karen Park   

 Absolutely. So I used to be also a fieldwork coordinator academic field record data at a previous institution. And so I think there has been kind of this emerging interest in looking at the experience of trauma and children and youth. And you know, a lot of our students come with a background, maybe, with experience working with children in general, and then are noticing that maybe there are some, you know, negative experiences that they've had in their past and thinking about as an occupational therapist, how do we really focus on the occupational impact of this for the child and also the family, the community as a whole. And so I do feel like that has been a topic that more students have been interested in. And so as we've gained more interest from our students, we've also then been able to partner with different community settings. And once we establish these partnerships, you know, the settings are telling us, there's a need here. And you know, we don't have this perspective from an occupational therapist necessarily. And so it's been a really nice partnership or a match for our students to be able to step into some of these spaces, where maybe there aren't established OT services, and they're able to address some of these areas that I think we, we really do have a really nice role for  

 

Jayson Davies   

perfect, so I'm excited to dive into that. However, there was one more one more thing on the personal side that I wanted to get into first, and that is that you're also the Vice President of the Asian American Pacific Islander Occupational Therapy Association. And I kind of wanted to mention that and also asked you, Hey, how's it going? And also, what are some of the responsibilities and priorities that you have in that role?  Yeah, 

 

Karen Park   

Yeah, yes, thanks so much for mentioning that. So I was recently elected earlier this year. So I've been in this role for maybe six months, so it's still pretty new for me. And we sort of had a rebranding the the association, it was previously called API, a photo, sorry, Asian Pacific heritage OT Association. And so it's been around actually, for a few decades, and it's been a part of the multi multicultural diversity. Oh, gosh, I'm gonna mess that up MDI network through a OTA. And so within the MDI network, we've been a part of this network for I think, almost three decades. But we're in this process of kind of rebranding the association, we did come up with a new name. So now we're the Association of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and occupational therapy, or AAPI. Oh, tea. And I think, along with the Asian American experience, really emphasizing how, you know, there are some unique strengths within our community, obviously, some unique challenges. I think there were some, you know, challenges and some concerns that came up, especially during the pandemic with some anti Asian hate crimes and such. And so really trying to increase the visibility of dissociation within the profession, because we do have a good number of Asian American practitioners in our community across the country. And so really wanting to support Asian American Pacific Islander therapists, who, you know, are kind of experiencing some of these unique challenges, whether it's in practice, or within OT communities and spaces. And so we've been creating some different initiatives. We have a really great series on Instagram right now looking at just kind of different occupations within different cultures within the Asian diaspora. So we've had students and practitioners that have been providing some different posts that we've been able to highlight. So definitely, if you're interested in learning more, follow us on Instagram and our other social media accounts like LinkedIn, and Facebook. And there's some really great stories on the posts there.  

 

Jayson Davies   

Yeah, I've been spending a lot of time on LinkedIn. So I've been seeing it over on LinkedIn. And yeah, it's just been a lot more present than I know, it was even maybe six months to a year ago. So that's awesome.  

 

Karen Park   

Great, it's working. I mentioned also that we want to get, you know, individuals engaged, we want to make sure that people know that we are here, we're an established Association. We are here to support the Asian, Asian American Pacific Islander community in occupational therapy. And so you know, if there are projects or programs or research that people are interested in that we'd love to connect, a lot of the leadership, we're connected with different universities are different areas of practice within the country. And so there's a lot of interest to kind of growing these other aspects to be able to support our community.  

 

Jayson Davies   

Great. Well, thank you for sharing. All right, well, let's go ahead and dive into our main topic for today. And that is talking about that experience of trauma. As I mentioned, you are now at that college level. But a lot of this information, this research that we're going to be talking about today, I really think can apply to that adolescent age and transition age period. So I want to ask you, from your perspective, why is it so important to address the trauma and mental health of teens and young adults? I know this is a little loaded, but I'll let you share kind of your response.  

 

Karen Park   

Right, right. So I think that I've been working in this area, you know, looking at childhood trauma and complex trauma in different populations for a while now, through my practice and also through through fieldwork experiences. But I think the COVID 19 pandemic really placed this increased focus on this discussion of trauma, right, and children, adolescents, the disruptions that were caused by the pandemic, school closures, the isolation that children were experiencing the fear and the grief that that we all felt, but because of the virus, it really exposed many of our children and youth to potentially these traumatic experiences. And so I think, you know, since the pandemic, there's this growing discussion about the impact. And I don't know if we really understand even the long term impact, right, from what happened during those years. And so kind of understanding, you know, there, there's a broader picture going on, I think, previously, there's been more of this, some not, I don't want to say simplified, but this kind of narrow understanding of trauma, that it's very individual, and it's, you know, abuse and these really super, you know, I would I call big T trauma. And so I think, since the discussion of trauma came about during the pandemic, we're really starting to understand some of the really subtle ways that maybe our children and youth are experiencing some negative experiences in their in their world and within their context. With our, with our students, I do work with graduate students. And I actually recently completed a chapter on adolescent and adolescent development for an OT textbook. And there's this emphasis in this time period around identity formation. And so there's an author, his name is Jeffrey Arnett, he talks about this period of emerging adulthood. And before, you know, it was thought that adolescents, they just become adults, they turn 18, you know, they get a job, they go to college. And so there was a different shift from adolescence to adulthood. But now, you know, we're starting to consider this period of emerging adulthood, which is really kind of encompassed by this developing self self identity, kind of this feeling of in between, and kind of this uncertainty to have, I'm not exactly sure where I'm going, adolescents and young adults are taking a little bit longer figuring out their careers. They're not settling down in committed relationships as frequently or as early as in the past. And so really kind of thinking about this emerging adulthood, and that identity formation, and how potentially kind of the world, everything that's happening in the world that is challenging that is, you know, really difficult to understand and to manage, you know, how that really impacts the way that we might develop and form that identity is something that I try to really emphasize in the work we do.  

 

Jayson Davies   

Absolutely, I mean, developing your self identity is, is just huge, especially for that adolescent, young adult age. And there's a lot of things that we're seeing at high school that very different from when I was in high school, 20 years now or so. And we're seeing teams get much more involved in politics, we're seeing a lot of policies put in place that they don't necessarily agree with. And we're just seeing them take on more of that activist role. And part of that is that self identity, that they're starting to see the impact that they can have on politics, I think a lot younger, which I know, again, when I was younger, they were like begging us to get out to do you know, more political type of things get out and vote. But I think nowadays, we're seeing, like you mentioned, you know, maybe they're not getting into their career as early, but they're still starting to be much more of an advocate for themselves. And, you know, individualized, but also as a community, and like, they're coming together as a community to self identify as well. So, yeah, are there any other things you want to share a little bit about addressing trauma with this age group?  

 

Karen Park   

Right, I think the point that you bring up about kind of these social justice movements within the adolescents, currently young adults, I think that's so it's so wonderful to see people getting so engaged, you know, in causes, and, you know, speaking up and voicing concerns about, you know, some of the problems that our country in our world is facing. So I also, I heard a little bit about this in the chapter two, you know, the increase in social media, right, the access that we have now to news and, you know, kind of varying perspectives, and just more information that comes from social media. And so I think that's something that's so interesting to see young adults, even my own children, I have teenagers, I have a 13 year old, a 16 year old and an 18 year old, and sometimes they'll share something with me that they learned on social media, and I'm like, where did you learn that? And they'll say, Oh, I read that I heard that on Tik Tok. I'm like, oh, oh, and they always say see, tick tock can be educational. But also, because of the social media presence, especially in young, in the youth and adolescents. We also see them having that exposure to some of the really traumatic experiences happening around the world. So the images of violence and images of you know, these really terrible events that are happening. You know, there's there's so much more exposure to those kinds of events and also just the emotions that come about, you know, from that exposure, I think it's really important to be able to communicate With with the youth and to be able to process through, because sometimes the experience of just being exposed to the images can be also seen as a somewhat traumatic event.  

 

Jayson Davies   

Yeah, I mean, social media is huge, right? Like, you think about, even 10 years ago, I mean, much more. So 20, 30, 40 years ago, parents and adults had much more say much more control over what teenagers were exposed to. And now with social media, you're just getting so much more information. And, and we're hoping that, you know, social media is starting to, in a way, like we want them to filter, but we don't want them to filter, it's a hard balance. And it was hard for social media, right, but they can get the information from any side from any point of view, rather than just giving the point of view of the adults in their lives. So yeah.  

 

Karen Park   

And also being able to critically think, to critically analyze and, and see different perspectives, and to really kind of decide for themselves, like what is important to them, what is the value for them, and to be able to support some of the causes that you know, that they really are, that they really find value in?  

 

Jayson Davies   

Yeah, and there's one other term that I wanted to mention, before we move on to talking more about ACEs and trauma was the age of feeling in between that was something that you've mentioned in the past. Can you explain what that means for for this population?  

 

Karen Park   

Right, right. So that's another that's part of the concept of emerging adulthood that Arnett has talked about, where again, you know, in the past, there was kind of this more clear path that our adolescents would take, they would graduate high school, you know, they would get a job, you know, go to college. And now we find that emerging adults are kind of choosing very different paths. And so you mentioned the activism piece, but you know, people are taking gap years and traveling more and just, you know, kind of taking more time to decide for themselves, what really is important to them, you know, is it really important to settle down and, you know, be in a committed relationship or partnership, you know, more long term? Or is it more important to kind of explore different thoughts, different causes in the world. And so I think that's something that we're seeing more of, especially in this this phase of emerging adulthood. And so it's interesting to see with our OT students, because there's obviously they're in a program, a rigorous graduate program, and they've chosen this path. But I think at the same time in the process, especially with the Capstone, we're still trying to facilitate kind of, you know, that this thought process is critical analysis is critical thinking of all kinds of the events that are happening in the world, and how it relates to them, and how it you know, how they connect with their communities. 

 

Jayson Davies   

Great, well, thank you. Let's go ahead and move on to Aces. We talked, I kind of brought it up in the intro. But I think a lot of us understand the term aces, but you also kind of mentioned a capital T. So maybe there's a lowercase t. So I want to give you an opportunity to kind of explain aces to your understanding and how you define it.  

 

Karen Park   

Yeah, so aces for those that may not be familiar, its adverse childhood experiences. And so this was a study conducted in the 90s, by a physician, through Kaiser, and he started to find that a lot of the patients that he saw adult patients that maybe had, you know, these, these ongoing health concerns, chronic health conditions, he started to just ask some questions, you know, just in conversation, and then starting to identify this pattern, that a lot of these individuals that had some of these ongoing chronic health conditions later in life had very similar negative experiences in childhood or toxic experiences or toxic stress. And so based on that initial observation, he conducted this study where he ident he created like this 10 item questionnaire, asking, you know, have you had exposure to childhood physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional neglect, physical neglect? Did you have a person in the home that had a mental health condition? Was there a person in the home that you know, was a substance user that they witnessed domestic violence. And so based on that the responses, he found this relationship between aces and later health concerns that the more aces you had, the more that you reported these negative experiences in childhood, that it turned out that these individuals struggled with more of these conditions later on. And so that's something that he published in the 90s. And there's been so much discussion around this, but I think initially, there was, I think, this kind of doom and gloom sense of like, oh, my gosh, well, then, if this is the trajectory, then Oh, my goodness, they, you know, these individuals are just going to have all these problems. And, uh, one of the findings was that, you know, there there was also early death, some of these individuals, but as a no tea, I think, you know, really kind of criticizing the whole notion that this is the only trajectory for individuals for all of our kids that maybe do experience some type of traumatic event or, you know, pervasive trauma in childhood. That, as OTs we want, we argue that there's a way to really turn this the ship around. And so there had there have been some criticism of the aces, especially, because initially the study was done through Kaiser. And so it certainly included a certain demographic of patients. And so it didn't really take into consideration multiple socio economic classes or SES status levels. And it really kind of negated an understanding of some of these other traumatic events that now we're a little bit more attuned to. So that includes, like systemic racism and oppression, the global pandemic, so the pandemic is definitely an ace all of our children, we can count that, and also the experience of collective trauma. So maybe it's not something that we as an individual may experience directly or individually. But as a community, you know, I think there's a lot of communities that have been targeted in our country that have experienced violence. And so this collective trauma of having an identity with a certain community and feeling this fear, right, and feeling the sense of loss from that, I think it really, a lot of people are now arguing that there is a need to really think about all of these other factors too. And also really understanding the value of trauma informed care. So again, you know, not to not to paint this picture of doom and gloom, if you have these aces, you know, you're you're headed down this path of having all these health conditions. But there's this value in really thinking about trauma informed care as protective factors for our kids. So there are, there's literature about how, you know, a stable, you know, consistent caregiver in the life of a child is going to be that protective factor buffer. There, the environment, the social cultural context, it could either be a buffer, it could be also a barrier or cause for more negative experiences, too. And so there's been kind of this neat are pushed to redefine aces. And there's this one resource through the paces connection, so paces being positive and adverse childhood experiences. And there's a really nice website that has a lot of information on this. So paces being that we want to consider all of these things. It's a very holistic picture of not just hear these negative experiences, which leads down this, this terrible path. But how do we also support the the buffering of our children? Right? How do we now think about how to increase those positive experiences, to then support our children in their development?  

 

Jayson Davies   

Very interesting. That's I had not heard of patience yet. So thanks for sharing about that. And earlier, one thing that that I'm really interested in, and you kind of alluded to it earlier, is you know that that capital T, because I think what a lot of us think of trauma, we think of the household, right? Things that happen in the household, a lot of those aces that you mentioned earlier were like, experiencing and or witnessing domestic abuse, or whatever it might be, it's usually in the household. But obviously, trauma doesn't just happen in the household. Right. So what are some other factors outside of household? You mentioned a little bit with society, but I think environmental was one one of those that you wanted to discuss.  

 

Karen Park   

Yes, absolutely. So environmental factors, I think the pandemic is a great example of that. But in certain areas of the world, you know, natural disasters, the climate crisis, you know, access to resources or, or not, or having some of that deprivation when it comes to resources. There's also community factors, too, that wasn't really addressed or explored in the original ACEs study. So thinking about poverty and food scarcity, and housing instability, I think, you know, with the understanding of more structural racism, and oppression, all of these things within the community environment, I think those are factors that we're starting to understand a little bit better and how that may impact a child. And I also want to bring up kind of this idea of ambient trauma. So ambient trauma is this term, where it may be a very seemingly insignificant event. So that's what I call the little t. So a really minor event, but as they accumulate over time, that can create a more negative impact on the child overall. And so I do I talk about my youngest child, Amelie, Emily's gender diverse as a more masculine gender expression. And so when they're in their middle school, they signed up for the girls volleyball team, that's something that they're really interested in. And, you know, comments from the other, like the leadership and other girls like, Oh, this is the girls volleyball team. This is for girls. And having, you know, those are like little little events that, you know, that they'll come home and talk to me about and, you know, as that accumulates over time, you know, getting looks when they go into the bath, the women's restroom, things like that. Those kinds of things can again, have this greater traumatic impact over time. So I think those are things they also want to point out that it may not be the these big traumas that we are more aware of and are knowledgeable about, but it could be these really seemingly insignificant, you know, minor events that kind of target a certain identity as well. That over time can really contribute to a sense of, you know, not belonging and exclusion basically.  

 

Jayson Davies   

Yeah, I'm glad that you use that example just to kind of, because this is a school based occupational therapy podcast right and, and to hear a little bit about your, your child's experiences school, one of the things that I'm seeing a rise in with school based occupational therapy practitioners is the idea that OT practitioners should be supporting in some way bullying. And I agree with that, like, you know, there is that traditional thought of school based occupational therapy, only focusing on an IEP and students with special education. But I think we can definitely move more broad and support the other realm of general education students. And I think that bullying can be a part of that. And we should absolutely be on different teams at schools to potentially support or improve bullying on campus. So I think that that is something that we can use this trauma informed practice as trauma informed idea to, to, we might be the profession to bring it to the rest of the school campus, like teachers might not hear about trauma informed practice, but that's something that maybe we can bring to the table and support the team with. So yeah,  

 

Karen Park   

I want to reference Dr. Susan Bozic, who's from Cleveland, Cleveland area, I'm sure a lot of people are familiar with her work. But, you know, she, she looks at it from a public health perspective, that three chair perspective and, you know, thinking about larger promotion, of mental health, right, positive mental health, and, and so when you bring up bullying, you know, it's not necessarily targeted interventions, but can we do school wide programs related to that, I think there's absolutely a hugely valuable role for OT. And I think considering, you know, students with very diverse identities, you know, an intersectional identities, and I think OTs have an understanding of that as well and can contribute to that sense of belonging for our kids.  

 

 

Absolutely. 

 

Jayson Davies   

Absolutely. And while you were talking, I was trying to look it up, and I can't remember Susan Baisley has been on the OTs class podcast, I can't remember what episode it was. Because she is amazing. She has several programs that are designed to be school wide programs from a recess program to a cafeteria program. There's probably a specific bullying program. I'm not sure if they got that yet. But every moment counts.org, I believe, is the website. If it isn't, we will link to the real website in the show notes.  

 

Karen Park   

Yes, I recently saw a post there's something she's doing something with every something new with every moment count. So it's continuing to expand a great, great program. And yeah, definitely needed in our in our schools. 

 

Jayson Davies   

Episode 36. That's what it was. All right. So episode 36. If you want to learn more about Dr. Susan Baisley,  

 

Karen Park   

Great! 

 

Jayson Davies   

All right, so we talked about some of the trauma that that can impact our students, let's talk about some of the outcomes. You've done some research into this and have learned what some of those long term outcomes may be. So I'll give you an opportunity to share a handful of what those those outcomes can be for students who do experience trauma.  

 

Karen Park   

Absolutely, yeah. So kind of going back to the neurobiology of trauma. I'm just fascinated with the brain. And I feel like when I learned about neuroscience, like maybe I wasn't paying attention, but I don't remember, you know, learning about like the Olympics, I'm sure we learned about it. But like the limbic system processes, and kind of that the physiological processes of how trauma affects our brain, which is so critical for our children and youth and adolescence, because their brains are still developing, their brains are still continuing to be constructed. And every experience positive and negative is going to change the trajectory of that brain development slightly, too. And so I can go a little bit through the neurobiology. That's okay.  

 

Jayson Davies   

Yeah.  

 

Karen Park   

So yeah, the limbic system is where trauma lives. And I want to I want to credit actually one of my, my friends and former colleagues, Stephanie Boston, I took a course with her on sensory integration. And she kind of frames the limbic system in four different processes. And she uses the acronym move. So m being memories. So memories are really stored in our limbic system and our hippocampus. It could be positive memories, it can be negative memories, I use this example of when I went to Sonoma and I was in a lavender field and, and now that I, every time I smell lavender, see lavender that always takes me back to that beautiful and positive memory. But in the same way, when there's a negative memory, there's some type of memory that we stored our hippocampus, and something triggers it right, whether it's a smell, whether it's the sight of something, whether it's, you know, a comment that someone makes, that can be triggered in our hippocampus. And as I mentioned, smell so that was the second part of move, so olfactory, so the olfactory bulb is also part of the limbic system. And so the the way that we process smells, sometimes it goes straight to our brain, but it doesn't get filtered like other sensations do. And so that may be the first sign of, of something negative, like the smell of smoke, right or fire, it could be the smell of alcohol, it could be something that they smell that, you know, to someone else may not seem very negative, but is associated with a negative interaction with another individual, right. And then another part of the limbic system is the amygdala. And that's where the emotional responses live. And so that's where we store our emotions. And that's where we process some of these emotions. Especially when we experience these negative reaction negative experiences, how we process the emotions is such an important piece for our kids, because we see, you know, moments where they're, they're being challenged to kind of regulate in the classroom, and they're trying to regulate in a certain setting where maybe learning needs to be happening, right. And so how do we regulate these emotions. And then the the last one is, the visceral experiences somatosensory experience, I kind of went out of order for move mov. So but that somatosensory or visceral experience, or memories that we hold in our bodies, and there's so many books on this, the trauma keeps a score, or you started, the Body Keeps the Score talks about how we store this trauma in our bodies, it really does live within us, and we carry it throughout our life. And so we're really thinking about how those visceral memories can also be triggered, it's something that's really important. And I think what's also really important to point out is that the limbic system has kind of this inverse relationship with the frontal lobe. So there's this really interesting connection there, where the more active our limbic system is, right? The more you know, again, trauma lives in our limbic system. So the more active it is, the more that we are, you know, stressed because of something in our environment, or some type of trigger that we're experiencing in the moment that our frontal lobe is less active. And so frontal lobe I always say is where executive functioning lives. So that's where attention comes from. That's where regulation comes from. That's where, you know, processing and problem solving, and, you know, judgment, all of these important skills that our children are learning to develop, right. And so if our children are in environments where you know, there is a very active limbic system that they're trying to manage the frontal lobe development, executive functioning, development is not going to be as optimal. And so that's something that we need to really take into consideration in some of these environments and settings that we may think, again, going back to ambient trauma, you know, oh, that's, that seems like such a minor thing. Not really significant, not a big deal. But for that child in that moment, right. They're processing this trauma now and their limbic system. And now they're not able to pay attention. They're not able to engage in whatever they need to be doing in the classroom, they're not able to, you know, transition between activities are not able to regulate their emotions. And so that's a really important piece to understand kind of that relationship with the limbic system in frontal lobe. 

 

Jayson Davies   

Great, I'm glad you got move in the right order. Sorry. I know you said a lot after that. I was fixated because, at first I wasn't sure if it was move or Mo's. And it could be either or the way you're going through it. But it worked out 

 

Karen Park   

M.O.V.E Yes.  

 

 

Perfect. 

 

Jayson Davies   

Perfect. And I wrote it down memory for everyone out there listening memory, olfactory visceral, and emotionally. We got it. Very cool. All right. So the limbic system is where trauma lives, as you mentioned, but what is the part of the brain that can kind of maybe help us overcome that side of the brain? You know, if there's a lot of trauma living in the limbic system, is there another part of the brain that kind of helps to potentially modulate that a little bit overcome those experiences?  

 

Karen Park   

Right, right. So there there is the HPA access, which is the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis. So this is kind of our alert system that's activated in our brain in our body, when we perceive any type of stress or trauma. When people talk about the HPA axis, a lot of times they'll use the example of seeing a bear right you see a bear you react your your flight or fight or flight kind of goes into gets activated, and we respond to that, right. And so the hypothalamus is where it hypothalamus is where we kind of perceive that stress initially. And so once it perceives that stress, it sends a signal to the pituitary gland that signals kind of this trigger a release of the, I'm gonna get this right cord corticotropin releasing hormone that's your age, which is a lot easier. And so once the pituitary releases CRH into our system, then the pituitary gland receives that signal and is alerted Okay, danger, danger and then address and then releases the Adreno cortico, Tropic hormone ACTH, into the bloodstream. And then once ACTH is released into the bloodstream that reaches the adrenal glands, which are located above the kidney that tells her adrenal glands basically help SOS, right. We're stressed here, we need to do something about this. And so that creates this process of releasing stress hormones into our system, typically cortisol. So cortisol is a major, major stress hormone. It increases our heart rate and our blood pressure, it kind of provides this burst of energy that prepares us for that fight or flight response. And a little side, like I really enjoy backpacking. And so when I'm in the woods, maybe I backpack for 10 miles, I'm exhausted, I'm settling down setting up my tent, and I'm laying down to relax at the end of a long hike. And then I hear a rustling right, and you think, oh my gosh, there's a bear. And no matter how tired I am, no matter how I feel like my muscles are not, you know, on my side anymore. And, you know, I quickly jump up, right, you quickly jump up and you respond, the cortisol in our system really alerts us in a way that makes us respond for our sense of safety. And so, related to the HPA axis, the concern with our children is that when there is the press, we want cortisol, to help us respond to stress, that's a good thing. But when we have children that are experiencing ongoing abuse, maybe witnessing ongoing violence in the home or community, whatever it may be ongoing, traumatic experiences, what happens with the HPA axis is that the cortisol is being consistently released over and over. And that can create a sense of hyper vigilance for our kids. So they're on high alert all the time, they're not always able to discern what truly is safe, what's not safe. And so a lot as, especially as the brain is developing, that's a really big piece of we need to be able to identify, Okay, what's truly a safe space for me, or what is something that is truly dangerous, that I need to respond, or my body needs to go into that into that response mode. And so that's a big concern with, with young children, again, as their brains are developing, because the more cortisol is, is kind of left in our system, you know, we could see, you know, decreased immune system processing or function, that we might see changes in metabolism, you know, differences in glucose levels. And that's why we see kind of this connection of early childhood stress, causing some of these conditions later on, like diabetes, or, you know, health condition or heart conditions and etc. Hope that makes sense.  

 

Jayson Davies   

Yeah, absolutely. And, you know, you mentioned flight or flight or fright, I can never say that correctly. And I know you also can have freeze, right? Flight, fright, flight or freeze. And when I hear those, I often think of the polyvagal theory, do you kind of reference the polyvagal theory in the work? Would you like to talk about this?  

 

Karen Park   

Definitely. Yeah. So the polyvagal theory, for those that may not be as familiar, was developed by Dr. Steven Porges. And it is a neurobiological framework. And it really helps us to consider how we respond or act based on stress in our in our environments, or in our world. And so you, as you mentioned, the fight or flight and freeze. And so traditionally, what we believed in the past was that this is a very dualistic systems, the sympathetic nervous system, which activates fight or flight, and the parasympathetic nervous system, which activates kind of that freeze and shutdown. And so Porges challenged that duality of the autonomic autonomic nervous system and identified that there are actually two pathways down on the vagus nerve. So there's the ventral vagal pathway, and this pathway actually responds to cues of safety, it really supports feelings of being engaged and socially connected. And so it's a really positive pathway that we want to be able to support and facilitate for our clients and for our children. And then there's also the dorsal vagal pathway, which is what we typically would see as kind of that protective state of collapse, that freeze or shutdown. And so you know, understanding that there are these different pathways on the vagus nerve is really important to kind of promote opportunities to pursue the ventral vagal pathway, are those experiences that really can promote that safety and connection. And so Deb, Dana, she's an occupational therapist, she created this visual, it's called the polyvagal. Ladder. So if anyone's interested in looking that up, it's a really nice visual, that kind of talks about the different levels of how we may respond. And so at the very top of the ladder is safety or psychological safety and connection. And that's where we hopefully want our children and students to be at this kind of what we call the optimal level of engagement. That's where we learn best, that's when we feel most connected with, you know, educators, peers, etc. And so that's something that we want to be able to support our children to be at the top of that ladder. And if to explain a little bit more about that ladder, for those that are interested in viewing it. The next step down is the sympathetic nervous system, which we're again familiar with as it relates to fight or flight. And then at the bottom is that parasympathetic shutdown. And so it's a nice visual kind of explaining, you know, there are these different experiences that we can support to get our children and our clients in a space where they feel that connection and that optimal level of engagement. And then one other piece that I think is really important from Porges work was this idea of neuroception. And so my background is sensory integration, so all the different senses and so he kind of brought out this idea of neuroception In that it's this feeling of danger and kind of paying attention to the signals, right? And so maybe there's something that I feel crawling up my arm, right? And so I got to respond like, what is that? What does that is a spider? Is that a bug? What is it, or Oh, it's just my shirt, there's just a little thread, right? And so that neuroception, that we may be experienced, you know, multiple times during a day. But it mobilizes us to respond and really take action when we maybe don't feel safe to get us to a place back to safety. So it's kind of that listening to our gut, so that we aren't placing ourselves in these dangerous situations. And again, going back to the HPA access, we need to be able to differentiate when it's safe, when it's not safe. And again, some of our kids may have some difficulty with differentiating that. 

 

Jayson Davies   

Absolutely. And if our kids aren't, you know, moving up that ladder to the safe area to the socially engaged area, and they're somewhere near the bottom, or maybe they're in the middle today, I'm sure that can have an impact on their occupations on what they have to do every single day at school. So, again, I know you're kind of at the college level now, but a lot of times high schoolers and college kids, you know, there's there's some overlap there. So what are some things that that you have seen that you have identified that this type of transition age person can exhibit difficulties with, when trauma is kind of in their background?  

 

Karen Park   

Right, right. i There's there's so many ways that it can impact occupation, I think we're talking a lot about occupations related to school. And so important things like paying attention, being attentive, attuned, being engaged, even, you know, for a longer period of time, I think that's so important, that self regulation piece too. And I think we talked a little bit about that emotional regulation, when there is something that happened maybe an hour ago or happened to our community last week that we're still processing that our body is still kind of working through in terms of our physiology, that may there may be this increased fear, increased anxiety, it can also absolutely impact sleep. So insomnia, especially in young children, we may see that somatic pain. So somatization is where you know, maybe they're really nervous about a test, or maybe they are experiencing bullying at school. And so they start to have stomach aches, where there's nothing really wrong with their GI system necessarily, but that fear anxiety, you know, that worry is now being stored kind of in that gut. And so presenting in a way that, you know, feels like a physical manifestation, when it may also may may ultimately be something related to a traumatic event.  

 

Jayson Davies   

Yeah, yeah, I know, from my own, you know, personal experience in my in my realm of life, that that is definitely something that has impacted people that I know. And, you know, it's something that they almost feel sick when they're invited to do something that has an experience related to some of their trauma. And that's just not that can impact a lot of things. It's not just that they're feeling sick, but it's also impacting their entire day, their entire week, potentially. So that's hard. Alright. So taking a step back, you mentioned a little bit about one of your kiddos and how, you know, on the volleyball team, there's just those little ambient traumas, I think you call it inside of school, maybe in the classroom, what experiences that the students that we have school based OT practitioners, maybe can have an impact on how our students, you know, maybe even experiencing trauma on campus.  

 

Karen Park   

Yeah, so I think that's something we need to be aware of a tune to that this is possible, we want to, we want to believe that our environments or communities in our school settings are safe. But we have to also be aware that there is this potential for some traumatic experiences that our students are experiencing. So there are some specific ways that there may be trauma in the classroom. One experience is through curriculum violence, or just, you know, the the programming or the curriculum that maybe is, and I want to relate this also to OT education to where maybe there's something in the curriculum that is misrepresenting their identity, maybe is racial racially profiling a certain community or group gender profiling, or maybe some stereotypical portrayals of certain cultures and groups. And so I know in OT education, we in academia, we have so many discussions about case studies, how can we get, you know, more inclusive case studies, right, that are not stereotypical, that really do portray different identities and experiences in a very positive light without misrepresenting them. And so that's something that we might see in the classroom, especially in in higher education, related to like case studies and such, but there also might be some again, and I don't know ambient trauma or big T trauma related to this underrepresented upper under representation of identities. So we know that our profession is lacking diversity and representation from diverse backgrounds. And so when we think about, you know, a student walking into the classroom, you know, do they see faces? Do they see others that you know, may share a similar identity or experience? Or do they feel like they're already, you know, underrepresented in this environment. And so that can be something that our students have to navigate the social climate, where they may feel possibly invisible, like no one really is understanding their experience that may be very unique from others, maybe they feel very disempowered, they don't feel like they have a sense of confidence to speak up about certain things or challenge certain ideas or perspectives that may be different. Or we might feel the sense of being tokenized, where maybe we're being put on the spot to share experience, because we may be the only individual with a diverse identity. Or we may be asked to participate in marketing campaigns and be in those photoshoots to to potentially represent a diverse community that may not necessarily be representative representative of the actual of the actual setting. So that's another concern that we might see with students, I think we're really familiar with microaggressions. So these, you know, oftentimes very unintentional interactions and behaviors that communicate some sort of bias right towards a marginalized community. I've also seen this experience also with graduate students, tone policing, where maybe there's a discussion or debate happening, and maybe an individual that has greater privilege, it may be an instructor, it could also be another student from a more privileged background, maybe dismisses or you know, invalidates the thoughts or opinions of another student based on the reaction to the emotional tone. Well, I didn't like the way you said that you just seemed very angry right now. So instead of listening to the message, and the the point that the individuals was trying to communicate, they instead, the other individual may be invalidated that because because of the tone, so that's something that may be considered to be tone policing. I think another thing that we might see also with students is code switching. So maybe they maybe a student comes into an environment that they see that their identity is not well represented, they do feel like they are part of a minoritized group. And they walk into an environment and they feel like well, now I have to adjust my speech, I have to adjust my behavior, my appearance, my expressions, so that other people don't misinterpret my behavior. And so that could be code switching that we see between different classroom settings, it could be with peers, it could be with teachers, instructors, educators, and such. And I think this is something that comes up a lot in OT education, in particular around professionalism, because professionalism historically has been related to Eurocentric values, right? It's very role dependent. And, you know, in an OT education, there is kind of the sense of gatekeeping, where it will, if you don't act or look or talk like me, you don't belong, right. And so that's something that's come up a lot with students where students have felt marginalized when they're in maybe a fieldwork setting and that the fieldwork educator is reporting a concern about professionalism, because of the way that they may have expressed themselves. And I was actually at SSO the Society for the Study of occupation this past week in St. Louis, and I was at a presentation talking about the experience of belonging for black students in PhD programs in our profession. And one of the presenters had talked about, you know, being an academic field or coordinator, and getting more calls about professionalism for black students, right. And so because they don't necessarily, they may not speak the same way or, you know, behave in a way that, that the site is deemed to be professional, that they are now being called out, you know, about some concerns, that may not be valid. 

 

Jayson Davies   

Yeah. And I think we could see that on a high school, campus and Middle School campus, even the elementary campus to some degree. So I think those are all very important factors to keep in mind. And I know that you kind of have gone the next step to kind of make sure that you yourself are engaging in trauma informed teaching. And I want to give you a moment to talk about that. But as I do, I just think that, that this is something that it's not just about teaching, it's about being a practitioner, as well, everything you're about to say, this kind of just front loading everyone that's listening. I think what Dr. Park is about to say, even though she's kind of going to be saying it in the realm as a college professor, I think this is actually completely applicable to us as practitioners in the school as well. So tell us about trauma informed teaching.  

 

Karen Park   

Right? Right. So it's grounded in the principles of trauma informed care. So for those that may not be as familiar with trauma informed care. Safety is so critical safety trust transparency, that peer support, having peers that really see them and understand them, collaboration, mutuality, other principles empowerment, voice and choice and also considering cultural, historical and gender issues, where those those identities have been historically marginalized. And so those are the principles of trauma informed care. And so that's those are the principles that we want to make sure that we're grounded in and teaching as well. But in terms of trauma informed teaching, we want our classroom or learning environments to be inclusive and transformative. And we want to also share our center our shared humanity. And so as an instructor, I really do try to dismantle the hierarchy in the classroom, right, a lot of a lot of instructors may try to establish that hierarchy of well, I'm the teacher, I have the knowledge and that I agree with you, right. But I think in especially as a coordinator, I try to really establish a space where we can all grow as a community. So I always share with my students, you know, I'm also here learning from you, some of our students who are, their capstone topics are topics that I may not be as knowledgeable about, or familiar with, they may become experts on these topics in these projects much more than I am, I may be. And so I always emphasize that we're all learning together. And so the more we can understand our humanity, that we're not asking, you know, our authentic selves to be left at the door, or humanities being left at the door, but that we establish a space where all of these, these factors are really welcome. And all of our identities and positionality are embraced as a community is really important as well. Another principle that I think is really important is equity and social justice focused. And I don't mean that to say everyone needs to know about all the all the events happening in the world. And you know, we need to talk about it all the time, I know there isn't a lot of time and space for that. We want to have some awareness of the issues in the world that may be impacting our students and the pain and the grief that they may be carrying. So that we don't ask them to leave their humanity at the door. Right. So learning is the primary goal in all of our settings, right. And all of education, learning is a primary goal. But psychological safety is truly a necessary condition, there has to be a sense of psychological safety in the classroom, for our students to be in that optimal range, right? optimal level of engagement of learning to be at that top rung of the ladder, to be able to engage with the curriculum. And another really important piece is that it needs to be universal. This goes back to this idea of code switching, right? If if one teacher, you know it, maybe this teacher is super, super empathetic, and you know, is super invested in dismantling these hierarchies. And then you go to another teacher and that teacher is not, the student is now having to code switch between classes, right, as they're moving throughout their day. And so it needs to be universal approach across campuses across programs. So that there is again, a sense of safety universally, throughout the institution. 

 

Jayson Davies   

Yeah, and there's just so much going on. Like, I don't want to get into specific examples. I know you mentioned, there's a lot of gender issues going on right now within individual schools and districts that are impacting the students and the adults on campus like this is tough. And we all need to be mindful of that going on. In order to practice this trauma informed teaching trauma informed occupational therapy, trauma informed care. As we get closer to wrapping up, I want to ask you, for the occupational therapy practitioners that were that are working on a high school, maybe they're working with an individual student, or maybe they have the opportunity to go a little bit more broad and support the entire school, do you have one too, just a few strategies that you might want to pass off to them that maybe they can try using in their school to make it a little bit more more inviting, more friendly for students on campus?  Right, 

 

Karen Park   

Right, right. Yeah, I think that, that psychological safety is definitely an important factor, because psychological safety really paves the way for belonging and belonging leads to inclusion and inclusion means that we can bring our entire our whole selves and our, our authentic selves in these settings. So that we can comfortably and safely voice opinions and challenge, you know, ideas and thoughts and, and bring different perspectives that others may may learn from and may not fully understand. And so I think fostering that environment where students can be authentic is a really important component that we can do across all of education. And so this idea of, you know, not not having to worry about being found out that, you know, I'm actually neurodivergent so I learned differently, I process information differently. And so, you know, students, especially in middle school, at that really critical age of development, identity formation. At that age, where you know, they're they fear how other people may think of them right, they may be worried about being found out that I learned differently. right or that maybe I'm a first generation college student and, and I may not have the educational privileges or generational legacy of my peers, or maybe I have caregiving responsibilities as well, my husband's actually a high school teacher. And he does talk about some of his students where they're tired, they're sleeping in class sometimes. And, again, we can, we can perceive that as Oh, this student is a bad student, they're lazy, blah, blah, blah, we have all these negative, you know, labels that we can attach. But once he really talked to the student, he realized that the student, as a junior in high school, has to work has to work on weekends has to work in the evenings to really support their family. And so you know, taking all of those factors into consideration allows us to see that the entire person and so that's that's something that's super important too. I do want to touch upon belonging we I was at SSO, which is the Society for the Study of occupation in St. Louis this past weekend. And we had this conversation about belonging and we're debating Wilcox framework of doing being becoming belonging, and wondering, you know, what type of belonging did Wilcox intend for us to understand in that framework? And was it like belonging? Oh, you fit in? And that's how you belong? Or was it this sense of like, laboratory belonging, where you could bring your full self, your whole self as authentically, you know, as possible, and to show up in these spaces and still feel like, Oh, I'm accepted, I belong here. And so I think I think about middle school age where that's such a, an awkward period. And when I think about my middle school years, I cringe a little bit, you know, not feeling super confident in myself, you know, still figuring out myself, I think, these are the spaces that we want to be able to allow our children or adolescents to explore, explore identities and to challenge what they're what they're learning as well. But I think that takes a lot of critical reflection on our part as occupational therapists. They're one of my capstone students, she did a research study on OTs understanding of trauma and how they use trauma informed care and practice. And she continued her study after she graduated, and we worked with her and identifying some codes and themes. And we're hoping to get it published, where it's in review right now. But one of the themes that she identified was this idea of reckoning with self. So being grounded in this reflection of our own regulation, really decentering ourselves in our therapeutic interactions with clients, students, etc. And that's so important so that we're not potentially causing retraumatization to our clients and students. And so this reflection that we have to go through, or we should be going through to say, I do have best intentions, but I may not always get it. Right, right. And so I hear sometimes in our classroom settings, where people just say, well, we're safe here, this is a safe, this is a safe space. And despite best intentions, we can't always assume that our classrooms are safe. And so we want to make sure that we are not misunderstanding, trauma symptoms in the classroom that may be showing up again, labeling, you know, the student that was sleeping, sleeping in class with negative labels, but understanding their experience that they've got a lot going on in their life, they have a lot of other responsibilities that their family is depending on them for. And then so really kind of, you know, centering empathy, you know, having that empathy, that awareness of self and how we show up is, is just really important in establishing these relationships and connections, which can really support more empowered healing in the work that we do.  

 

Jayson Davies   

Great. Well, I just have one more question for you. And this comes directly from questions that I get all the time from school based occupational therapy practitioners. So I want to ask you, if you just had like, if you talk to a principal, and they're like, Hey, Dr. Park, we would love for you to give a 30 minute training to our teachers, something related to trauma informed care. What topic would you go with that you would want all the teachers on campus to? What would be the goal, I guess, for the teachers to take away from a talk that you give them maybe another school based OT who was listening to this could also give it their high school?  

 

Karen Park   

Oh, gosh, there's so many. Right, there's so many topics. I do feel like, I feel like the I am really kind of a neuroscience nerd. So, you know, really understanding the neurobiology I think is so important. And you know, sometimes I do presentations when I talk about trauma, and I always have a piece where I discussed neurobiology and I, I worry kind of people to now not as interesting, you know, talking about the brain, but I think it's so important to understand, you know how the limbic system works and that connection with the the frontal lobe, because again, that inverse relationship of if a student is struggling with something that we know nothing about, right? And that's usually the case, we know nothing about what they may be going through or you know, what trauma they've been experiencing or what trigger they just may have just experienced in the moment. And so again, we can really misinterpret behaviors really quickly. And there's this really great article, I'm blanking on the author's name. But there's this really great article that talks about secondary microaggressions. And secondary microaggressions are kind of that process of where we misunderstand the behavior. Or maybe we misunderstand something because that's not our experience. So well, that's not my experience. So I don't understand it. So almost invalidating the students experience like, Well, that can't be true, that can't be real, because I haven't experienced that. And I don't understand that. So there are these multiple ways that we might enact these secondary microaggressions because of our misunderstanding of potentially what may be a trauma symptom. And so I think going back to the neurobiology and understanding how all of that is related, and how we, how we show up in the world, how we, how we may behave and respond to interactions that we have with other individuals. I think that would be absolutely core. 

 

Jayson Davies   

All right, everyone, you got that you just have about 30 minutes to present that to all your teachers, though, gotta keep it short. But no, I think that's great. I think a lot of people, occupational therapy practitioners, teachers, educators, they understand trauma informed practices, but I think having that neurobiological side of it neuroanatomy side, to really kind of sometimes use pictures when you're talking about the brain, right. So you know, you show them those pictures, it just makes it a little bit more real sometimes to better understand how the brain is processing, the trauma and how the limbic system is working, and how the HPA is all working. So thank you so much, I really appreciate that. And before I let you go, where can anyone who's interested in learning a little bit more about you, and maybe the St. Augustine program, go to learn more, 

 

Karen Park   

you can find more information about me on our USA website. So our homepage is usa.edu. And we do have faculty profiles on there. So if you search faculty, you can learn a little bit about more about my background, but I'm also on social media, I do have a public Instagram profile, it's Karen Park OTD. That's my Instagram profile. And then I'm also on LinkedIn too. So you can find me on LinkedIn, I do try to I do try to share kind of different thoughts and ideas and, you know, work that I'm doing. I think that that came about actually during the pandemic, where I started to share some things and, and people really resonated with it. And it's a very vulnerable space for me being so public, but I'm there. And I love to I really, really, really do love to engage with the community, I think we have just such a wonderful community of OTs and, and students start following me and become we become friends after they graduate. And I just really love to stay connected and be able to support others in their journeys, I think it's I really do find the work as a doctoral coordinator to be super, super meaningful. And so when I'm able to stay connected with our graduates and, and see just wonderful things that they're doing in the community, it's just yeah, it's a proud moment for me.  

 

Jayson Davies   

That is awesome. That's great. Yeah, it's, it's always great to see all of our hard work, be rewarded in a way and you know, maybe it's not in accolades, but to see the people that we mentor and, you know, just improve themselves and become, become an occupational therapist, or an occupational therapy assistant, or whatever, whatever they're aiming for. So yeah, it's always  

 

Karen Park   

speaking of mentor, yeah, if you connect with me on social media, I may ask you to be a mentor for one of my capstone students. So, stay connected with the university, especially alumni, we love to connect with alumni and have them come back and mentor students. So yeah, so that's one thing if you connect with me, I might ask you to be a mentor. 

 

Jayson Davies   

You're not the first one on the podcast to say that, so people know. Alrighty, well, Dr. Park, thank you so much for coming on. It's been a real pleasure. And I know that a lot of school based OT practitioners are gonna walk away from this episode, with a better understanding of ACEs and the experience of trauma and how they can make make the road a little bit more friendly, a little bit more tolerable for everyone that they work with. So thank you so much. I really appreciate it.  

 

Karen Park   

Thank you. Appreciate it, Jason. 

 

Jayson Davies   

All right. So one more time, please help me in thanking Dr. Karen park for joining us on today's episode of the OT schoolhouse podcast. Your insights on how experienced trauma impacts adolescents were truly eye opening. And I know this is going to support every single school based occupational therapy practitioner working in that very difficult area of middle schools and high schools. I of course also want to express my gratitude to you for tuning into this episode and engaging with this important topic. Your commitment to understanding and providing trauma informed occupational therapy services in the school is making a difference in the lives of the children, the youth, even the parents and teachers that you work with. And I have a feeling that this episode will help you to take the next step in your effort to better support the students, teachers, parents and staff that you serve. Now, if you're interested in more courses, and resources specifically designed to support trauma informed occupational therapy services in the schools. I'd like to introduce you to check out the OT schoolhouse collaborative which is our private membership group where you can get mentorship, professional development and resources, all related to school based occupational therapy. We even recently had a course inside the OT schoolhouse Collaborative on self regulation and trauma responsiveness from Dr. Vi, Alicia Gibbs and now Dr. Felicia Lyons, congrats Felicia. But this is just a huge topic right now in school based occupational therapy, especially in those middle schools and high school settings. And we want to provide the best resources for you. You can learn all about the OT school house collaborative and join when you're ready to over at OTSchoolHouse.com slash collab. Again, that's OTSchoolHouse.com slash collab CO, Ll. A, B. Thank you so much for joining us on this episode of the OT schoolhouse podcast. I really hope that you walk away from this episode, ready to support the students that you serve. Stay tuned. We have more episodes coming up in the near future and we hope to see you there. Until next time, cheers. 

 

Amazing Narrator   

Thank you for listening to the OT schoolhouse podcast. For more ways to help you and your students succeed right now. Head on over to OTschoolhouse.com. Until next time, class is dismissed. 




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