Trauma and Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES)

Nearly 35 million children have had at least one serious traumatic experience and nearly two-thirds have been exposed to violence. Approximately 20-25% of children in the U.S. will experience some form of childhood trauma before they reach adulthood. These adverse childhood experiences (ACES) can have long lasting effects on both mental and physical health. The stress can affect brain development and impact social-emotional well being.

The most common causes of childhood trauma include:

• Accidents • Bullying/Cyberbulling • Chaos or Dysfunction in the home • Death of a loved one • Domestic Violence • Emotional abuse or neglect • Incarcerated parent • Physical abuse or neglect • Separation from a parent or caregiver • Sexual Abuse • Stress caused by poverty • Substance abuse • Sudden and/or serious medical condition • War/terrorism • Violence (at home, at school, or community)

Signs of childhood trauma:

Birth – Age 2
• Unusual clinginess
• Agitation
• Tantrums that don’t stop within a few minutes

Ages 3 – 5
• Difficulty focusing or learning
• Unusual clinginess
• High level of anger or excessive temper

Ages 6 – 12
• Sleeplessness and/or nightmares
• Irritability
• School problems

Ages 13 – 18
• Self harm
• Panic attacks
• Depression

Four things you can do to help a child deal with trauma:
• Create a safe environment
• Provide adult support
• Teach them self-soothing techniques
• Build on their strengths