All the Other Reading: Adverse Childhood Experiences


It may not seem like it over here, but I’ve actually been reading a ton lately. I’m not absolutely positive that I want to head down the tenure track in academia, but I do know I want to research education somehow/somewhere. Apparently being able to chat about your own research is a good skill to have, so I might as well start here.

In the 1990’s, the Adverse Childhood Experiences study revealed that traumatic childhood experiences (such as abuse and neglect or a family member’s incarceration or death, among others) have a dramatic impact on adult health, including increased risk for cancer and heart disease.


BUT research also shows that the consistent presence of just one caring adult can greatly reduce the impact of ACEs.

NPR just did a fantastic series on school mental health, including this slideshow, which touched on the role childhood trauma plays in education. I’m most interested in the teacher piece of the puzzle (the caring adult!), specifically how to best train teachers in trauma-informed care and make sure they have the support they’ll need. It’s a big, multi-faceted problem, but a major focus of one of my classes is narrowing down a research interest, so I’m spending a bunch of time buried in journals. Hopefully, I’ll have more to share next time!

  • I’m really glad you’re going to use this space to talk about the topics you’re researching.

  • Amanda

    Sounds intense but ultimately I hope really rewarding!

  • Ceillie Simkiss

    This sounds crazy exciting stuff to research – I hope you find the perfect topic for you!

  • You are KILLING it in the doing interesting things/doing important things area.

  • ACEs are one of those things that little me assumed everybody grew up knowing. Turns out, this is a false impression that little me got from growing up with all social workers. :p It’s an interesting test — my sister used to tell her clients that ACEs are like weights pulling you down/holding you back, and it means that you have to do more work to accomplish the same things.

    • YES! I’m really surprised that it’s not taught to teachers (at least it wasn’t when I went through my teacher prep program) – I feel like it could have a pretty huge impact on perception.

  • As someone who works in a school, I’d love to hear more from you on this. I have several students who fall into this category, and I am always wishing I could do more for them! Can’t wait to hear what you have to say!