The Impact of
Adverse Childhood Experiences
I work in the field of public health in the area of chronic disease prevention and risk reduction. Not coincidentally, this story has lead me to a professional as well as a personal exploration of the mounting evidence on the impact of “adverse childhood experiences” on early brain development as well as their strong correlation in the development of chronic disease and mental illness in adulthood. Through this knowledge, we are learning that one way that chronic disease and mental illness can be prevented is simply by nurturing our children at home and within our schools and communities, providing for their safety, security and basic needs, not the least of which are provided for through loving, caring parent-child/caregiver-child relationships.
It must be a priority to introduce prevention strategies to health and human service students and providers, as well as to the general public by taking a look at the notion of “adverse childhood experiences” (ACEs) and “toxic stress” and their consequences.
For more information about ACES, please see: Dr. Nadine Burke Harris’ TED Talk, How Childhood Trauma Affects Health Across a Lifetime http://www.rwjf.org/en/blogs/culture-of-health/2015/03/how_childhood_experi.html?rid=MOmHqhfKAkgFzBZqxMea9tC5jNdvPYkXzxcfGh007m8&et_cid=210772
The PBS documentary, The Raising of America, http://raisingofamerica.org
"Sand Castles" is performed by Christina Nordstrom, Ric Bailey and Ted Mello
Copyright 2013. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Used with permission from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.