Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)
The CDC-Kaiser Permanente ACEs study included more than 17,000 middle class Americans in San Diego from 1995-1997. Nearly 2/3 of adults reported at least one ACE.
Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) have a significant impact on health, quality of life, economics and education. Research shows ACEs are common, they affect all socioeconomic levels, and their impact on health and well-being is significant. (See What Are ACEs and How Do They Impact Health?)
Ten adverse childhood experiences are categorized in three areas: abuse, neglect and household challenges.
“The child may not remember, but the body remembers.”–from the documentary Resilience
While ACEs significantly increase the likelihood of disease and illness, there are opportunities for prevention and mitigation. Research shows that the presence of one stable, caring adult in a child’s life is key to building resilience.
Together we as a community can work to prevent ACEs and mitigate their impact for a healthy, thriving and economically strong Wake County.
AHA launched a Wake County discussion on ACEs and building resilience on April 6, 2017; a follow-up community conversation will be held in fall 2017.
Communities Addressing ACEs: Model Programs
Resources: Understanding ACEs
Building Resilience: Techniques & Interventions
ACEs can be mitigated by building resilience skills, having a key relationship with a supportive adult and simple ways to alter space and experience. Below are some resources.
Sesame Street in Communities Traumatic Experiences Initiative
Sesame Street in Communities launched its Traumatic Experiences Initiative, featuring several short videos, storybook resources and activities, along with social media tools to help young children.
Foster Children-NCSU Training
A series of trainings focused on ACEs, resilience and protective factors for older youth in foster care is provided by NC State University Center for Family and Community Engagement.
Creating Places that Help Trauma-sensitive Kids
Thanks to the Public School Forum of North Carolina for these tips.
- Create a cool-down or calm-down space where kids who are having “big” feelings can go for time to themselves and getting out of the situation causing these feelings. This space might be a cozy corner with some special sensory items to play with to soothe and redirect.
- Create a welcoming space at the entrance (whether a school or building) with welcoming signage or décor, and train staff at front office on positive and warm, welcoming techniques when interacting with students and families.
- Foster relationships. Teachers can build positive relationships by greeting students each morning by name as they enter the classroom and asking how they are doing/feeling as a daily check-in. Having more adults in hallways, cafeterias and playground who interact in a warm and positive way is also helpful.
- Communicate the day’s schedule and transition periods well, post the schedule in a highly visible place, and review it each day. Let students know when transitions are and if there are any parts of the day that are out of the norm so they know what to expect.
- Be strengths-based. Look for students doing positive work and behavior and give them specific praise for good things you see. Remind them of their strengths regularly.
- Resilience Questionnaire (printable; to be used after have results of ACEs questionnaire)
- Wake County Network of Care
- Miss Kendra Curriculum
- Child First
- Trauma Smart
- Life Is Good Playmakers (training for early childhood professionals and teachers)
- Trauma-informed Approaches
- Strengthening Families