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What are ACEs?

Adverse childhood experiences, or ACEs, are any traumatic or stressful events that a child may experience during their upbringing. These events can include physical, sexual, or emotional abuse; neglect; living with an alcoholic or drug-dependent parent; or experiencing domestic violence or instability in the home. Research has shown that children who have experienced ACEs are at an increased risk for a number of negative outcomes, including physical and mental health problems, academic challenges, and social difficulties.

The impact of ACEs can be far-reaching and long-lasting. Children who have experienced ACEs may have difficulty regulating their emotions, may be more prone to anxiety and depression, and may have difficulty forming trusting relationships with others. They may also have an increased risk of developing chronic physical health problems, such as obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.

In terms of academic outcomes, children who have experienced ACEs may struggle in school, with lower grades and a greater likelihood of dropping out. They may also have difficulty with social skills, which can impact their relationships with peers and their ability to form healthy friendships.

It's important to note that the effects of ACEs are not always immediately apparent and can manifest in different ways as a child grows and develops. That's why it's crucial for parents, caregivers, and educators to be aware of the potential impacts of ACEs and to provide support and resources to children who have experienced them. This can include therapy, a supportive home environment, and a safe and nurturing educational setting.

By understanding the impact of ACEs and taking steps to support children who have experienced them, we can help children overcome the challenges they face and reach their full potential.

Scott Hollis PhD, MLS(ASCP)


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