I have posted several times regarding the impact of Adverse Child Experiences (ACEs) and the supporting research that has clearly demonstrated a significant connection between childhood trauma and the physical and emotional health of adults. But John Trayser has an idea worth considering.
A practical application of trauma research
Trayser suggests a practical application on the ACEsConnection.com blog of the ACEs research for new parents.
It was about three years ago when I first heard about ACEs on NPR. It truly legitimized everything I had written about family and relationships with the outside world. I read The Teenage Brain and Childhood Disrupted. We are making huge strides in sharing the scientific findings about childhood trauma in as many avenues as we can, it appears. Yet, I have a deep sadness at times that ACEs is an after-the-fact scorecard of traumas inflicted on our children.
My most significant moment in reading through our caring community of ACEs Connection came for me when I read about the Pediatric practice in Portland, OR. They came up with the brilliant idea of giving the ACE Test to parents at pre- and post-natal visits. Of course you can’t really have a cogent and helpful discussion with a very young child…and maybe you can at a certain age…but the impact of talking with parents BEFORE they inflicted traumas they may have known themselves was revolutionary, I thought.
With all the distracting behavior of our government and foolish talk about healthcare…why is no one SCREAMING about the simplicity of this idea. I continually read about the insane costs associated with children who fall into the social services ocean. Certainly those expenses are necessary to catch those in need as early as possible. Knowing that hurt people…hurt people…and happy people…help people…why are we not more focused on prevention?
I started writing books about family 10 years ago because teachers told me to. They said they had never seen a 9-year-old child watch over other children on a daily basis…and the younger brother did, as well as a 7-year-old. Ask any teacher at ANY level of education and they will tell you it is getting worse EVERY year.
If you add trauma to the lack of respect, kindness and connection that kids are facing these days…no wonder we have seen bullying become a national epidemic. Resilience is taking its place at the forefront of counseling, but what if we were to focus NATIONALLY on preventing trauma by addressing the possibility of a mandate of ACE Testing at the Pediatric level?
I will speak at any forum about this subject.
We are wasting precious time not doing it today. The current discourse in D.C. simply shows how far away our government is from paying attention to the revolutionary subject that this is. If you want to reduce healthcare costs…keep trauma from happening! Maybe it’s because I am 67 years old and feel the clock ticking…but things are not happening fast enough to PREVENT trauma.
In a discussion about ACEs with a Foster Care case worker here in Tennessee this week, she said there were currently 7800 children in foster care here…and growing steadily EVERY DAY! That number stunned me…
I love to speak about ACEs at schools and even corporations that are waking up to the fact that happier people at home…make better employees at work. But again…it is dealing with issues that happened already.
Perhaps we can find a way to start teaching more social skills like respect and kindness to help with that effort. But every time I do…I wish I could use that time and energy to change the national focus on ACEs to prevention. Does anyone else feel that way and need a passionate partner that knows how to touch hearts?
I know things are changing…and I am thrilled. My book The ACEs Revolution! is selling briskly on Amazon these days…it is light on science…gives a good picture of the impact on all of us about ACEs…Dr. Felitti sent me a nice note about that…but it is HEAVY on prevention.
Saying and doing the things necessary to raise happy and confident children needs to be talked about at the national level.
And for the sake of our future children…why not buy some iPads for all the pediatric practices in the country with The ACE TEST on it and make it mandatory to give the test to ALL new parents! I can’t think of a better and more effective way of turning the tide of drowning children that will suffer tomorrow from the trauma caused by…hurt people.
I deeply appreciate the practical thinking behind this article.
We are in need of some practical steps to help our parents and children who have been trauma-impacted. It really can be an important prevention step to get help to those who may be aware of their own high ACE score and what that might mean for them and their children.
Gerry Vassar, President/CEO, Lakeside