ACE Made Simple
If you’re anything like me, you were confused the first time you heard of the ACE Study, and maybe even more confused by the seemingly endless online explanations of the aforementioned study. By now you’ve probably seen at least one article or blog or meme about ACE scores and the ACE Study, but maybe it still seems a bit unsettling at least. I know it seems more than a bit confusing and unsettling to me, so let me try to simplify it for all of us – there are ten types of childhood trauma measured in the ACE Study. These abuses, or traumas, are broken down into physical abuse, verbal abuse, sexual abuse, physical neglect, and emotional neglect, and further broken down to the things we witness as children such as a parent who’s an alcoholic, a parent who’s a victim of domestic abuse, a family member in jail, a family member diagnosed with a mental illness, and the disappearance of a parent through divorce, death or abandonment. Each type of trauma a child may experience counts as one “point.” The higher one’s ACE score, the greater the risk of future problems.
To make it far less complicated, maybe we could just think in terms of the less negative experiences we have as children, the better. But what does this mean to us, in all practicality, as parents? To me, it means let’s take a look at where our own risk factors may be, and take positive steps to reduce or eliminate those risks.
What if we took an honest look at our own ACE score and set about to change that score for the better for our own children? Or, what if we looked into our own lives and the lives of our kids as if we were on the outside looking in? Maybe, just maybe, we need to assess and amend some of the practices we use at home, with our own children.
Practical ways to lower the ACE score of your children would be to ask yourself some hard questions and to answer them honestly. Drinking too much? Get help ( through AA or another twelve-step program, or your church, or a treatment facility, or any of a host of ways to get help and get a handle on your drinking before it sinks you and your children). Yelling too much? Hitting your children? Take a parenting class, talk to a friend, read a book about peaceful parenting tips. Connect emotionally with your children whenever you can – read a book, eat together, take a walk, talk about your day! Learn the facts about sexual abuse, talk about it, and take positive steps to prevent it for your children. (Learn more by visiting www.d2l.org )
There are so many practical ways we can reduce the future risk categories for our children, by educating ourselves and seeking solutions to problems that may exist in our home, or with our parenting. Get creative, get involved, and create a better future for your child and for generations to come by lessening the experiences that have a negative impact on your child’s development and their future.
1 in 5 New York Kids Are Sexually Abused. Help Prevent That
The CDC reports that 1 in 5 children are sexually abused.
9 out of 10 of the perpetrators are never brought to justice and never appear on sex offender registries.
They are protected by New York State laws.
Sign this petition and change that. Protect NY Kids.
Editor, Ask Lala
Laura Fogarty writes “Ask Lala” for the Stop Abuse Campaign. She is a mother, an advocate, and the author of two children’s abuse prevention books: I’M THE BOSS OF ME! and WE ARE JUST ALIKE!
Laura has an ACE score of 7.