Most people, let alone most parents, are unaware of the hidden epidemic affecting over two-thirds of our community. Yes, I said two-thirds. In Arizona the ACE Consortium, a collaboration of over 100 individuals, state, county, and private agencies, have been working together for the last ten years to get the word out. Beware parents, not only have most of you been infected with this invisible disease; but, your children have as well.
The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study is one of the largest investigations ever conducted to assess associations between childhood maltreatment and later-life health and well-being. The study was collaboration between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Kaiser Permanente’s Health Appraisal Clinic in San Diego.
More than 17,000 HMO members undergoing a comprehensive Physical examination chose to provide detailed information about their childhood experience of abuse, neglect, and family dysfunction. These were middle-class individuals in San Diego with over 70% having college educations.
With more than 17,000 average American participants, the study assessed a wide array of health and social problems ranging from adolescence to adulthood, and assessed childhood exposure to multiple types of abuse, neglect, domestic violence and serious household dysfunction such as substance abuse. The decade-long study has taught us important lessons about the long term effects of certain negative childhood experiences
The ACE Study findings suggest that certain experiences are major risk factors for the leading causes of illness and death as well as poor quality of life in the United States.
By following the progression in the pyramid you will see the symptoms developing from the experience as a child into the disease of the adult.
Traumatic experiences can be dehumanizing, shocking or terrifying, singular or multiple compounding events over time, and often include betrayal of a trusted person. Trauma can result from experiences of violence. Trauma impacts one’s spirituality and relationships with self and others, often resulting in recurring feelings of shame, guilt, rage, isolation, and disconnection; but, healing is possible when one finds the way to resources that will assist in breaking the cycle, create strong coping mechanisms, and help build greater public awareness that we all have a stake in combating this disease for our sake and the sake of our children.
You can help yourself, your family and the community by learning more about ACEs. Visit the website www.acestudy.org to read the results of the study. For help, visit www.pbs.org/thisemotionallife for great tips on coping, and www.pbs.org/parents/childdevelopment for great parenting information.
Adverse Childhood Experiences can last a lifetime, but, they don’t have to! Together we all can do something about ACEs, please join us!
This guest blog post is from Frank Brogni, ACC, CPC, Family Relations and Life Coach and Chair Person of the ACE Champions for Change Speakers Bureau – contact Frank and an ACE Ambassador will be glad to present the ACE Study information to your group: Frank@WorldClassParenting.com, 602-920-6287.