Adverse Childhood Experiences — ACEs

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) are traumatic events that can have negative, lasting effects on health and well-being. These experiences range from physical, emotional, or sexual abuse to parental divorce or the incarceration of a parent or guardian.

Across the U.S. for children, up to age 17:
• Just under half (46 percent) of children in the U.S. have experienced at least one ACE. In 16 states, a slight majority of children have experienced at least one ACE.
• Abuse of alcohol or drugs, exposure to neighborhood violence, and the occurrence of mental illness are among the most commonly-reported adverse childhood experiences in every state.
• In Colorado, an estimated 33% have experienced 1 to 2 ACEs and 10% have experienced 3 or more.
• That means that in one of our classes of 25 students, about 10 students have experienced some trauma, and about 4 students have had 3 or more traumatic events.

The consequences are real. Students with an ACE score (i.e. at least 1 traumatic event):
• Are 2 ½ times more likely to fail a grade
• Score lower on standardized tests
• Have language difficulties
• Are suspended or expelled more
• Are designated to special education more frequently
• Have poorer health

The higher the score the greater the risks:
• A male child with an ACE score of 6 has a 4,600% increase in the likelihood that he will become an IV drug user later in life
• Childhood and adolescent suicide attempts increased 5,100% with an ACE score of 7 or more.
• There is a graded relationship between ACE scores Absenteeism, Serious Financial Problems and Job Problems later in life

While we can’t change these facts, they help us understand our students and realize more than we’d care to believe are struggling with significant issues.

More about ACEs:


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