ACEs are far more common than recognized and have a profound and lasting health, social and emotional impact.
ACEs can create changes in the body and brain that translate into disease over time.
ACEs can increase health risk behaviors (e.g., smoking, substance abuse, risky sexual behavior) that lead to poor health outcomes.
ACEs are linked to the major causes of disease, death and disability in the U.S.
Optimal Brain Development
The first five years of your child's life is very important for brain development. A child who experiences an unsafe and stress-filled early life is at risk for learning and health problems because their brains do not develop as they should. The pictures that appear below show the brains of two three-year-odld children. One child was raised in a very stressful environment (abused brain), the other child raised in a very caring and loving environment (healthy brain).
To develop a healthy brain, a child needs to be in a safe, loving and responsive environment. Experts in the field tell us that children need:
- Parents or caretakers who will respond to their child's basic needs.
- Parents or caretakers who hug their child and let their child know they are loved and valued.
- Parents or caretakers who talk and play with their children.
- Parents or caretakers who understand and accept their child's uniqueness.
- Parents or caretakers who use positive parenting techniques to discipline and teach their children to make good choices.
- Parents or caretakers who provide their child with nutritious foods and opportunities to move around and explore their environment.
- Parents or caretakers who provide their child with opportunities to play with other children and engage in age appropriate activities.
- Parents or caretakers who provide their child with a clean and safe environment.
- Parents or caretakers who teach their children to care about others and behave in respectful ways towards other people.