I've been seeing so many great articles about parenting with ACEs and understanding the intergenerational impact of ACEs. It's great to see so much coverage, research, and widespread sharing.
BUT, I still don't trust systems enough to recommend universal screening. I don't trust that insurers or systems won't use that info. against people, won't use it against families and communities.
So far, I'm still all about sharing this info., friend to friend, parent to parent, professional to professional. I think all parents need to know about the ACE study and all versions of the ACE surveys because they are SUCH POWERFUL and educational tools that are about collecting info,, data, and not in a therapy setting. That's powerful. We rarely have places out of a clinical setting to get clarity on what abuse, neglect and dysfunction even are.
Before I read the ACE study I would have said I didn't witness domestic violence because it happened so early, mostly before age 2, I didn't even remember it and I've also have said I didn't experience physical abuse, despite having serious injuries, because also, it mostly happened in the first five years and wasn't big in my memory. And to be honest, I wouldn't have even thought of neglect as a kind of trauma, or some of the household dysfunction stuff as anything other than how life goes for some sometimes.
To have a checklist, a "things not to do" to help kids live happy, healthy and longer, that is not steeped in unasked for advance, punitive policies, "fixing" or helping that also comes with judging IS HUGE. It's powerful.
The ACEs score and study, for me, who did have an orientation that I just sucked and needed to be "better" at being a survivor, more resilient, less whatever, the ACE study/score was a game changer. I got to see things in a global, public health, way wider perspective that NEVER HAPPENS in a clinical setting. That was huge, empowering, encouraging and profound in my healing and parenting. And that's why I do this work. It cracked the door open in me to look from a way wider lens at individuals, at families, and systems, and see how widespread issues are. But it also helped me look more widely at systems and how they've failed so many individuals and families.
Like our ACEs, something we know from our lives and experiences, but don't necessarily know how to name, or know is unjust or not ideal. That shift in seeing a public health perspective, for an ordinary person just going through life, is a gift.
BUT, and I know it's part my high ACE score, I don't trust systems NEAR ENOUGH to advise or encourage parents to share that info. NO WAY! I know, even when going through the adoption process, that family history and family background and upbringing can be used against people in determining who is even eligible or allowed to adopt. I know that systems have unchecked biases, that often the PTSD of women isn't acknowledged, that people with a mental health diagnosis don't get the same quality healthcare, and I worry that those with high ACE scores will be tagged, flagged and that the info. won't always be used in ways that protect families, parents (and therefore kids).
I think systems have a lot more work to do on being safer for vulnerable and marginalized communities and don't have a great record, to date, on that. I encourage people to share and TALK ACEs if the provider is trusted, but not to fill out forms or checklists, give numbers or data but to keep conversations general. We know so many people are so uncomfortable even talking about ACEs. What people will and will not do with ACE scores if that info. is in systems, isn't something I think it's safe for all people to share. At least not yet.
What do you think? What do you advise? Do you share your ACE scores with all and has it gone well, been well-received or improved care? I have had ONE AMAZING and great experience with a nurse practitioner, and as an activist, went public with my score but I don't recommend it for all. Do you?