You can tell when a kid is in trouble. You may not know why, but the behaviors – aggression, withdrawal, self-harm or destructive behaviors – all point to a young person in pain. What we often can’t see are the reasons why. Traumatic events, known as Adverse Childhood Experiences ACES have profound effects on children including feelings of intense fear, terror, and helplessness. Repeated exposure to these traumas can interrupt normal physical and mental development and can even change the brain’s architecture.
ACEs have been linked to numerous negative lifelong outcomes including alcoholism, drug abuse, depression, suicide, poor physical health, and obesity. There is also evidence that kids with ACEs are more likely to struggle in school and have emotional and behavioral challenges. Unfortunately, Idaho is one of the highest states for prevalence of kids with multiple
Trauma can happen in many ways:
- Abuse of child: emotional, physical, sexual abuse
- Trauma in child's household environment: substance abuse, parental separation and/or divorce, mentally ill or suicidal household member, violence to mother, an imprisoned household member
- Neglect of child: abandonment, child's basic physical and/or emotional needs unmet
For a young person, these traumatic experiences are transforming. The only question is how will it transform the