The first five years of a child’s life build the foundation for growth, development, learning, achievement, health, and happiness. Did you know that science indicates that 80 percent of the child’s brain develops by the age of 3?
When the early and adolescent years of child development are interrupted, it can have significant impacts on a person well into adulthood. Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) are defined as traumatic events that occur before the age of 18. They may include abuse, neglect, intimate partner violence, divorce, substance abuse, parental mental illness.
Addressing childhood trauma directly can help us find a path to redemption.
What is an ACE score?
The ACE study measures 10 types of childhood trauma. Some are personal and others are related to family members. These include:
- Physical abuse
- Verbal abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Physical neglect
- Emotional neglect
- Alcoholism in a parent
- Mother who is a victim of intimate partner violence
- Family member diagnosed with mental illness
- Disappearance of a parent through divorce, death, or abandonment
- Family member in jail
The survey allocates one point to each of the above experiences with a maximum score of 10. Your ACE score can indicate how likely you are to engage in risky behavior such as drug and alcohol abuse or suicide attempts. In fact, an increase of an ACE score from a 0 to a 4 means you’re 12 times as likely to engage in these behaviors. Without intervention, childhood trauma has the ability to impact individuals for the rest of their lives.
Child abuse and neglect are among the greatest health problems in our society. Even among primarily Caucasian, upper-middle-class, and college-educated adults, studies have found that over 80 percent report more than one type of ACE. Adverse childhood events and childhood trauma negatively impact a significant portion of our population. It’s up to us to find ways to conquer these events and heal.
Unfortunately, children don’t get to choose the situation they are born into. The ACEs they selected in the above survey are forced upon them. Yet, the ability to recover and thrive in the future is within their control. Redemption and resilience come from feeling safe, secure, and loved in the situations that they’re in. This often requires seeking help from professionals like counselors, practicing self-care, getting an education, and making other positive life changes. While it’s never easy to face childhood trauma, you’ll give yourself the tools to move forward and decrease the impact of these events on your adult life.
Hire Derek Clark for your next event
Derek Clark scores an overall ACE score of 10. Despite his high score, he has overcome the risk of mental health problems, risk behaviors, and medical illnesses. He continues to recover from his past and helps others who struggle with childhood trauma and abuse. He’s available for conferences, trainings, meetings, and special events to deliver a message of hope, motivation, and determination to push through adversity. Contact Derek here.