ADVERSE CHILDHOOD EXPERIENCES (ACEs)
According to cdc.gov, Adverse childhood experiences, or ACEs, are potentially traumatic events that occur in childhood (0-17 years). For example:
experiencing violence, abuse, or neglect
witnessing violence in the home or community
having a family member attempt or die by suicide
Also included are aspects of the child’s environment that can undermine their sense of safety, stability, and bonding, such as growing up in a household with:
substance use problems
mental health problems
instability due to parental separation or household members being in jail or prison
Please note the examples above are not a complete list of adverse experiences. Many other traumatic experiences could impact health and wellbeing.
ACEs are linked to chronic health problems, mental illness, and substance use problems in adolescence and adulthood. ACEs can also negatively impact education, job opportunities, and earning potential. However, ACEs can be prevented.
I am aware of the effects that COVID-19 has on both the students and teachers. According to the American Psychological Association, not only are our students dealing with COVID-19 stress as a student (APA, 2020), there is a possibility they have to deal with the impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) on their physical and mental health. Teachers have to deal with both the impact of COVID-19 on their students and on themselves which can also be stressful. For students, if stress is not properly addressed and reduced, it can lead to long-term behavior issues, health complications, and diseases that are caused by ACEs (APA, 2020).
I am a HUGE advocate for ACEs. I completed my dissertation on the topic after addressing my own childhood trauma growing up. I have not only learned more about the psychological effects of ACEs on young minds, but also about the long-term health complications that can come from recurring exposure to ACEs. Now that I understand how toxic stress affects the minds and bodies of children, I want to educate others about ACEs while helping children build social-emotional skills and resilience and teachers with personal and professional development on ACEs.
Dr. Torie is the Director of the ACEs Education Youth Ambassador Program at 16 Strong Project.
a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering resilience to adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) through student-led initiatives, educational workshops, school partnerships, and community outreach.
For more information about 16 Strong Project click here.
The ACE Test
Discover your Adverse Childhood Experiences score in 10 questions
The ACE test is based on the ACE Study conducted by Kaiser Permanente and the CDC. It demonstrated the relationship between adverse childhood experiences and adult health and social outcomes.
Understanding ourselves as adults often means revisiting our childhoods. The ACE, or adverse childhood experience, test helps you do that. The test asks 10 questions, and at the end we will provide you with your score and information on what it may mean for you.
Your answers are confidential. No identifying information is gathered.