Infographic

ACEs and Toxic Stress: Frequently Asked Questions

2018

ACEs and Toxic Stress: Frequently Asked Questions

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This infographic was created by the Center on the Developing Child, Harvard University.

HERE’S HOW THE CREATORS DESCRIBE THIS INFOGRAPHIC:

“ACEs” stands for “Adverse Childhood Experiences.” These experiences can include things like physical and emotional abuse, neglect, caregiver mental illness, and household violence. For those who have experienced ACEs, there are a range of possible responses that can help, including therapeutic sessions with mental health professionals, meditation, physical exercise, spending time in nature, and many others.

The ideal approach, however, is to prevent the need for these responses by reducing the sources of stress in people’s lives. This can happen by helping to meet their basic needs or providing other services.

Likewise, fostering strong, responsive relationships between children and their caregivers, and helping children and adults build core life skills, can help to buffer a child from the effects of toxic stress.

ACEs affect people at all income and social levels, and can have serious, costly impact across the lifespan. No one who’s experienced significant adversity (or many ACEs) is irreparably damaged, though we need to acknowledge trauma’s effects on their lives. By reducing families’ sources of stress, providing children and adults with responsive relationships, and strengthening the core life skills we all need to adapt and thrive, we can prevent and counteract lasting harm.

Center on the Developing Child. (2018). ACEs and Toxic Stress: Frequently Asked Questions. Harvard University. https://developingchild.harvard.edu/resources/aces-and-toxic-stress-frequently-asked-questions/

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