Welcome back to part 2 of our Talk About Trauma blog series. The CDC-Kaiser Permanente adverse childhood experiences (ACE) study is one of the largest investigations of childhood trauma and how it effects one’s physical health, mental health and over all well being.
Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) happen to more than 46% of U.S. youth according to their study. These traumatic experiences include physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, physical neglect, emotional neglect, mental illness in the family, incarcerated parent/caregiver, domestic violence, substance abuse in the home and divorce. The more of these types of experiences one has had, the greater the risk for physical health problems, mental illness, social problems and alcohol/drug dependence. A 2021 study found that children exposed to four or more traumatic experiences had higher odds of ADHD and moderate to severe ADHD than children exposed to fewer than four traumatic experiences.
When dealing with students we may have no idea what they have experienced that could be causing the behaviors and emotions we are seeing. Therefore, it is very important and helpful to attempt to learn about each child’s life experiences. Sometimes the behaviors and emotions we see a student displaying can be a result of a past trauma or a coping skill they have learned to use. With a better understanding of the students’ life experiences, we can begin to better understand their behaviors. And then we can hopefully begin to intervene in a positive way and improve our relationship with students.
Martha Hollingsworth, LPC
Mental Health Therapist