A Look Inside Professional Development Days: ACEs

The following is a summary from Hazel Wolf K-8 staff on a training that took place during the October 14 Professional Development Day.

On October 14, our staff joined several other Northeast schools at Nathan Hale High School to learn more about ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences). Many of our children are impacted by ACEs, and we learned to:

  • Define simple and complex trauma
  • Define ACEs
  • Understand how trauma impacts student learning
  • Define and identify resilience and protective factors
  • Identify concrete applicable practices

The 10 main ACEs referred to include:

  • Physical, sexual and verbal abuse.
  • Physical and emotional neglect.
  • A family member who is:
    • depressed or diagnosed with other mental illness;
    • addicted to alcohol or another substance;
    • in prison.
  • Witnessing a mother being abused.
  • Losing a parent to separation, divorce or other reason.

The more ACEs a person has, the greater the risk for chronic disease, mental illness, violence and being a victim of violence. A person’s ACE score is measured from 0 to 10. Each type of trauma counts as one, no matter how many times it occurs. You can think of an ACE score as a cholesterol score for childhood trauma. For example, people with an ACE score of 4 are twice as likely to be smokers and seven times more likely to be alcoholic. Having an ACE score of 4 increases the risk of emphysema or chronic bronchitis by nearly 400 percent, and suicide by 1,200 percent. People with high ACE scores are more likely to be violent, to have more marriages, more broken bones, more drug prescriptions, more depression, and more autoimmune diseases. People with an ACE score of 6 or higher are at risk of their lifespan being shortened by 20 years.

As a staff we will continue to learn more about this topic and how we adjust our own behaviors and supports to best provide for our students.

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