I have become very aware of the lack of awareness of the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) studies as I wander about the country training Teachers, Foster Carers, Social Workers, Youth Workers and other professionals working with adversity.
So here is a whistle stop tour. The ACE study that we have been familiar with for some time took place in America between 1995-1997 with over 17000 participants completing a questionnaire. It found the direct impact on a number of health issues, such as addiction, mental health, diabetes, violence (please read study for full report) for those people who had experienced childhood adversity. The findings have been very clear about this impact and should be used to inform preventative practice. This would literally save lives from a multitude of difficulties (my agenda and interest) and huge sums of money (Government agenda and interest). Here is more on that original study.
However, this year saw the release of an ACE study for Wales and an ACE study collaboratively for Northamptonshire, Hertfordshire and Luton.
Sometimes I get asked to lecture and yesterday I was working with 3rd Year Early Years students at the University of Northampton ensuring that they know and understand the ACE study for their area as they prepare to enter the workplace.
It is hard for those of us who have worked in this field for decades to understand that there is still a view that pervades our society that what happens in childhood does not affect those children and the adults that they will become. We have literally decades of research that tells us otherwise. Arming the next generation of workers working with adversity with all the knowledge and research that we have is an opportunity for us to create sustainable change not just sticking plasters.
Not doing so is at best ignorant and at worst deeply harmful for those people who need to heal and recover to have any chance of having a life at all and one that can begin to break cycles of violence, deprivation and neglect.
Whatever role you have, please cascade the studies so when someone has to endure that awful discussion with someone who says they do not believe in trauma in childhood and its impact (yes it still happens) then being armed with the research empowers everyone!
If you’d like any training on trauma, resilience and recovery please email firstname.lastname@example.org