That was the response of over 80 percent of teenagers in a survey commissioned by Laura Porter when asked: If you could have one helpful thing in your life, what would it be?Porter, a former county commissioner in Washington state is now the co-founder of ACE Interface, an organization that provides schools and communities with the tools to combat childhood trauma. The survey was part of her research to get a handle on what was happening with young people in her community.“That was shocking to me as a mother, as a community leader,” Porter said. “I assumed that children had someone to talk to, that they trusted.”Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) were first studied by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Kaiser Permanente in a 1998 survey comparing childhood experience related to three areas – abuse, household challenges, and neglect – with current health.
When children experience trauma during developmental stages, it can have lasting implications.
In the study, respondents answered questions about the first 18 years of their lives. From those questions, ACEs were defined by their interaction with one or more of the following factors: emotional, physical, or sexual abuse, emotional or physical neglect, mental illness in the household, parental separation or divorce, mother treated violently, household substance abuse, and household criminal activity.
Results showed that almost 64 percent of participants had experienced at least one ACE, and over 37 percent had experienced more than one.
That study, and others that followed, associated ACEs with. . .