ADVERSE CHILDHOOD EXPERIENCES
Research shows adverse childhood experiences (ACE) have lasting lifelong impacts.
The CDC’s ACE Study uncovered a link between childhood trauma and social and emotional problems as adults. It also found an association with chronic conditions in adults, including heart disease, lung cancer, diabetes, autoimmune diseases, as well as depression and violence.
People usually experience more than one type of trauma. Some examples include physical, verbal, or sexual abuse, physical or emotional neglect, parental substance abuse, domestic violence, family members with mental illness or who are incarcerated, and loss of a family member through death, divorce, or abandonment.
Trauma and the Developing Brain
During the first few years of life, the brain builds the foundation for future learning, emotional regulation, and social interaction, which are largely impacted by childhood experiences. This process affects how children perceive themselves and their environment, the ways they learn and cope, and how they form relationships.
Toxic stress physically damages a child’s developing brain and floods them with stress hormones, making them feel like they are constantly in fight or flight mode. This makes it hard to concentrate, learn, trust others, and cope with anxiety. As a result, kids often engage in risky behavior like using drugs, sexual promiscuity, and high-risk sports.
The support and protective factors a child has can prevent or mitigate the impact of ACEs. Resilience in the form of asking for help, developing trusting relationships, maintaining a positive attitude, and listening to feelings is beneficial. Good coping skills and feeling safe are also protective.
LEARN MORE ABOUT ACES
ACE AND RESILIENCY SCORES
Learn more about the trauma your child has experienced, and help to identify strengths and weaknesses moving forward.
ACES IN WISCONSIN
Learn more about how many people have experienced ACEs in Wisconsin, as well as downstream health impacts of a traumatic childhood.
ACES AND SUBSTANCE USE
Discover the connections between parental substance use and ACEs in children. Learn how to use this information to better prepare your child for the future.