Disrupting Disadvantage: An Autoethnographic Account

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Williams, Kamla A.
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Mount Saint Vincent University
Children who are exposed to early adversities, such as mistreatment, are more prone to develop chronic issues such as smoking, alcohol misuse, and obesity. In children, early adversity is linked to depression, cardiovascular disease, and metabolic syndrome. These activities may interfere with a children's development of values such as teamwork, empathy, and sensitivity (Brent, Silverstein, 2013). As we delve into this research, the author shares her journey with disadvantage and explores the negative effects these experiences had on herself and the people around her. She shares how, by claiming a growing mind and tapping into resilience, she was able to disrupt the preconceived life trajectory of children of a similar disadvantaged status. As the author considers her story she looks at actionable solutions (backed by other researchers) such as growth mindset, resilience and wholistic education and considers each learner within in the child and youth context to be the author of their own story, with the propensity to claim positive futures. The author also considers the children and youth as a whole being that can boost their learning capacity while also teaching a growth mindset and resilience, thus potentially evoking the realization that each child and each youth can be masters of their own destiny. The mental and emotional space of children and youth is a delicate space and ascribing the belief that the mind is a powerful thing, or as an old Jamaican saying (passed down through oral tradition) says, “belief kill ahn belief cur” translating to ‘belief kill and belief cure. Research conversations of this nature can illuminate the discussions surrounding practical strategies on why reventative methods are important and how to effectively execute preventative or treatments plans and programs to maintain the mental health of children and youth through adversity.