Do you know what ACEs are?

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Young children are especially vulnerable to adverse effects of trauma due to rapid developmental growth. Unfortunately, while there is a large number of historical data that indicates how significant this time period is in life, there is a generally limited knowledge from counselors on the impact trauma can have on young children (De Young, Kenardy, & Cobham, 2011). Disparity in knowledge = lack of acceptance that early childhood mental health is important. However, in the last 20 years research has worked to change this knowledge base. Over the last 20 years, researchers have just began to spend some time focusing on trauma during the early childhood years. Prior to that, researchers spent very limited time focusing on trauma during childhood. This is thought to be due to the lack of understanding that trauma can impact young children due to their lack of perception and social maturity (Zeanah & Zeanah, 2009). With limited knowledge of trauma-related illness and the stigma practitioners thought a diagnosis would provide young children, counselors hesitated with even entering into these types of discussions. This changed with a study conducted by the CDC and Kaiser Permanente in the 90s. The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study is now seen as one of the largest studies on childhood abuse and neglect and later-life health and well-being. With this new study, trauma in childhood is widely accepted as valuable in determining treatment plans for children and their families.

 For more information contact Kathy Banks