About ACEs

What are Aces?

Adverse childhood experiences, or ACEs, are potentially traumatic events that occur in childhood (0-17 years). For example:

  • experiencing violence, abuse, or neglect

  • witnessing violence in the home or community

  • having a family member attempt or die by suicide

Also included are aspects of the child’s environment that can undermine their sense of safety, stability, and bonding, such as growing up in a household with:

  • substance use problems

  • mental health problems

  • instability due to parental separation or household members being in jail or prison

How do ACEs affect development?

ACEs can interfere with brain development, learning, and behavior. Forming trusting relationships and managing emotions can be difficult for a child impacted by trauma.

How do ACEs affect a child’s ability to learn?

Some kids might skip school just to avoid the hassle. Decreased reading scores, lower GPAs, truancy and reduced graduation rates, along with an increase in teen pregnancy, joblessness, and poverty, are some long-term outcomes of childhood trauma.

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