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Letter to the Oceanside/Island Park Editor (April 25-May 1)


Understanding adverse childhood experiences

To the Editor:

As a woman and advocate who has known childhood adversity, as well as the impact of generational trauma, I believe with absolute certainty that no children should have to live their childhoods, as well as their adult lives, with the false belief and self-blame that they are responsible or unlovable because of an adverse childhood experience (ACE) that touched their young lives. Understanding such experiences is critical.

We cannot break the cycle of childhood trauma by trying to heal pain with pain but we can learn to heal and break generational cycles of adversity by taking the initiative to become a part of a movement that is bringing people together across sectors to innovate solutions by implementing trauma-informed, resilience-building practices based on ACE’s science.   

ACE is a public health issue and equally, an education, criminal justice and human rights issue. To learn more about adverse childhood experiences, all are welcome to join us at our free, local community presentation, “Understanding ACEs” at the Long Beach Public Library on May 2 at 7:30 p.m. 

ACEs are adverse childhood experiences that harm children’s developing brains and lead to changing how they respond to stress and damaging their immune systems so profoundly that the effects show up decades later. ACEs are responsible for a big chunk of workplace absenteeism, and for costs in health care, emergency response, mental health and criminal justice.

The brain is, however, continually changing in response to the environment. If the toxic stress stops and is replaced by practices that build resilience, the brain can slowly undo many of the stress-induced changes. 

ACE science refers to the research on the prevalence and consequences of adverse childhood experiences, and what to do to prevent them.  It comprises five areas of research: the epidemiology of adverse childhood experiences; the neurobiology of toxic stress; the biomedical consequences of toxic stress; the epigenetic consequences of toxic stress (passing from parent to child); and resilience research.

Donna Pisacano-Brown, Point Lookout