Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Understanding Adverse Childhood Experiences

One of our former Strengthening Families staff members, Erinn Havig, MSW provided training as part of the NEAR Learning Institute.  This training focused on key research and emerging science that teaches about the impact of adversity on health across the lifespan.

In the mid-1990s, Kaiser Permanente and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) conducted a study to consider the effects of childhood adversity on population health and wellbeing.  The ACE Study had over 17,000 participants.  The term ACE or Adverse Childhood Experiences ACE is way of identifying negative experiences that affect children and it is used as a way to calculate these experiences.  The study surmised the higher the ACE score, the greater the likelihood that the individual will have social and health problems that lead to early death.

Research shows that brain development is negatively impacted by adverse childhood experiences.  The ACE Study was designed to show how adverse childhood experiences influence human development in predictable ways.  The pathway goes as follows: adverse childhood experience, disrupted neurodevelopment, social, emotional and cognitive impairment, adoption of health-risk behaviors, disease, disability and social problems, early death.  

In the work we do at DEL, we have the opportunity to reach many of Washington State’s youngest children through our many programs and services to prevent and mitigate ACEs.  By gaining an understanding of how life experiences and new scientific discoveries can help children and their families, we can help these individuals experience greater health, safety, prosperity, and happiness.   
For further information: www.aceinterface.com/

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