Cissy's note: As more of us are learning about and sharing information on ACEs, more of us are reading and seeing questions, criticism, commentary, and guidance about if, when, where, how, and who should (or shouldn't) be asking, screening, talking about, using ACEs terminology and framing and how it confuses or expands the more clinical, medical, and traditional concepts of what traumatic stress is and how it's best responded to. I have my own opinions, of course, which is why I joined this movement almost five years ago. I don't agree with everything in this brief but love being a social network where we share, learn, try to understand what others are thinking, feeling - especially when it challenges some of our own beliefs, as well as when it resonates deeply.
Please find two paragraphs from a policy brief written by Jessica Dym Bartlett and Vanessa Sacks which was published on Child Trends blog yesterday.
Legislators, caregivers, and the media increasingly recognize that childhood adversity poses risks to individual health and well-being. The original Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) Study has helped raise public awareness about this critical public health issue. However, as the use of ACEs questionnaires for identifying potentially harmful childhood experiences has gained popularity, it is important to understand how ACEs differ from other commonly used terms, including childhood adversity, trauma, and toxic stress.
Childhood adversity is a broad term that refers to a wide range of circumstances or events that pose a serious threat to a child’s physical or psychological well-being. Common examples of childhood adversity include child abuse and neglect, domestic violence, bullying, serious accidents or injuries, discrimination, extreme poverty, and community violence. Research shows that such experiences can have serious consequences, especially when they occur early in life, are chronic and/or severe, or accumulate over time. For example, the effects of childhood adversity can become biologically embedded during sensitive periods of development and lead to lifelong physical and mental health problems. However, adversity does not predestine children to poor outcomes, and most children are able to recover when they have the right supports—particularly the consistent presence of a warm, sensitive caregiver.
To read all seven paragraphs of this blog post, go to the Child Trends site.