Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE's)

Adverse Childhood Experiences
Adverse Childhood Experiences, or ACE’s, are traumatic events that occur in childhood that can cause negative, long-term mental, and physical health issues. If traumatic childhood experiences are chronic, or recurring, it can cause toxic stress. Toxic stress can affect the way a child responds to stress and how their brain develops, which can lead to issues with learning, behavior, and increase the risk of chronic health conditions. The first study to link Adverse Childhood Experiences to poor health outcomes was published in 1998 and was conducted by CDC and Kaiser Permanente. The study found that ACE’s are incredibly common- 64% of participants had at least one ACE.

To read more about the original ACE’s study:
CDC Kaiser Adverse Childhood Experiences Study
About the CDC-Kaiser ACE Study |Violence Prevention|Injury Center|CDC

Examples of common ACE’s:

• Emotional abuse or neglect               • Experiencing homelessness   

• Physical abuse or neglect                   • Incarcerated household member    

• Parental separation or divorce          • Household substance use                 

• Sexual abuse                                         • Domestic violence                               

• Household mental illness                   • Witnessing a brother or sister being abused

• Racism, sexism or any other form of discrimination                                                            

• Bullying (by another child or adult)

ACE’s 101 Primer Video

Pediatrician Nadine Burke Harris's presentation
"How childhood trauma affects health across a lifetime" explains how trauma effects the developing brains of children.

CDC’s Adverse Childhood Experiences page

If you or someone you know is in crisis or needs someone to talk to:

Washington Recovery Help Line

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