What is the ACE study and why is it so important for schools?
The Adverse Childhood Experiences Study, (ACE study) is one of the biggest Public Health studies of all time (17,000 people). The study found that adverse childhood
experiences are a leading determinant of the most common forms of physical illness (e.g. cancer, diabetes, heart attacks), mental illness (e.g. depression and anxiety) and early death in the Western
World. ACEs are also a leading determinant of homelessness, drug and alcohol addition, smoking and domestic violence.
The ACE Study is part of a perfect storm of research emerging over the last 20 years that is revolutionising our understanding of human development. Neuroscience shows
how the toxic stress of trauma damages the structure and function of children’s brains, which can explain their hyperactivity, inattentiveness, angry outbursts and other behaviours. This can affect
their ability to learn in school, and can possibly lead them to use drugs, alcohol and food as coping mechanisms.
From identifying the ACEs in a child’s life, specific interventions and therapies can be matched to enable the child to process their underlying trauma in order to
prevent an escalation along this path of challenging behaviour. Research studies show that ‘protective factors’ in a child’s life, before the age of 18, can significantly help to change the
trajectory from childhood adversity to avoid challenging behaviour, learning difficulties, long-term mental, physical and societal ill-health.
We ensure that course participants leave our training without the fear that they may once have had regarding supporting children suffering with trauma. Staff will feel
empowered to be an ‘Emotionally Available Adult’ and recognise the vital importance of keeping children and young people feeling psychologically and physiologically safe.